Berner History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Berner surname comes from the Norman given name Bernier, which is Germanic in origin, coming from "bern" meaning "bear," and "hari," or "army."

Early Origins of the Berner family

The surname Berner was first found in Surrey where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Therfield. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands in Essex at Roding Berniers (Roothing Berners) and Bernston who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

They are believed to be descended from Hugh de Berniers in Normandy near Falaise. They also held in Cambridge at Eversdon, his main domain. Rooting Berners "derives its distinguishing affix from Hugh de Berners, to whom the manor at one time belonged. " [1]

The same gentleman held estates in Barnston, again in Essex. "The manor was held by Hugh de Berners and his descendants for many generations, and from them obtained its name Bernerstown, now corrupted into Bernston or Barnston." [1]

The alter tomb in West Horsley, Surrey has an effigy of "one of the Berners, a family who resided there about the time of Richard II." [1]

Dame Juliana Berners, Bernes or Barnes (b. 1388?), was an early English writer on hawking, hunting, and heraldry. "The historic and the legendary Dame Juliana Berners are very different persons. 'What is really known of the Dame is almost nothing, and may be summed up in the following few words. She probably lived at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and she possibly compiled from existing, MSS. some rhymes on hunting.' " [2]

Important Dates for the Berner family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berner research. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1265, 1510, 1600, 1504, 1467, 1533, 1495, 1529, 1516 and 1518 are included under the topic Early Berner History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berner Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Berner, Berners, Berniers, Burner, Burners, Burniers, Barners, Bearners and many more.

Early Notables of the Berner family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berner Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berner migration to the United States

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Berner or a variant listed above:

Berner Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mattys Berner, accompanied by his wife and two children, who arrived in New York State in 1709
  • Johan Berner, who landed in New York in 1709 [3]
  • Mattys Berner, who arrived in New York in 1709 [3]
  • Georg Ludwig Berner, who landed in New York, NY in 1710 [3]
  • Andreas Berner, who landed in America in 1748 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Berner Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Marg Berner, age 37, who settled in New York City in 1832
  • Joseph Berner, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839 [3]
  • Maria Berner, aged 19, who arrived in New York, NY in 1848 [3]
  • Salome Berner, aged 17, who landed in New York, NY in 1848 [3]
  • Johannes Berner, aged 8, who arrived in New York, NY in 1848 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Berner migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Berner Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Carl Berner who was listed as having arrived in Quebec in 1850
  • Carl Berner, who arrived in Quebec in 1850

Berner migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Berner Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Godfried Berner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Elisabeth Berner, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Terpsichore" in 1876

Contemporary Notables of the name Berner (post 1700)

  • Lewis Berner (b. 1915), American biologist
  • Robert Arbuckle Berner (b. 1935), American educator
  • T Roland Berner (b. 1909), American corporate executive and lawyer
  • Peter Berner (b. 1924), Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist

Historic Events for the Berner family

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert V Berner (b. 1898), Irish Leading Writer serving for the Royal Navy from Tullyvery, County Down, Ireland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [4]


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
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