Show ContentsBerney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Berney was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Berney family lived in Norfolk, where they were established since the early Middle Ages. The family's name, however, derives from their former place of residence, the town of Bernai, in the department of Eure, Normandy. The popularity of this given name among Normans in the centuries immediately following the Norman Conquest of 1066 was greatly increased by virtue of its having been borne by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c.1090-1153) founder and abbott of a monastery at Clairvaux.

Early Origins of the Berney family

The surname Berney was first found in Norfolk, where they claim descent from Berney, in the hundred of North Greenhow. The local has been lost through the years, but the family held a family seat at Park Hall in the parish of Reedham. "The baronet's family are asserted to have been at Berney, near Walsingham, co, Norfolk at the time of the Norman Conquest a great improbability, although their very early settlement there cannot be questioned." [1] What we have confirmed is the family seat was "acquired by the marriage of Sir Thomas de Berney with Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir William de Reedham in the reign of Edward III. " [2]

Early History of the Berney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berney research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1622, 1668, 1622, 1693, 1706, 1688 and 1710 are included under the topic Early Berney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berney Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Berney, Berny, Bernay, Bernays, Bernys, Burney and others.

Early Notables of the Berney family (pre 1700)

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Berney family to Ireland

Some of the Berney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Berney migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Berney or a variant listed above:

Berney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ellen Berney, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [3]
  • Thomas Berney, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Berney (post 1700) +

  • Arthur Berney (b. 1930), American Professor Emeritus at the Boston College Law School
  • Sir Hanson Berney (d. 1778), 6th Baronet of Parkehall, English peer, Sheriff of Norwich in 1762
  • Sir Thomas Reedham Berney (1893-1975), 10th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • Sir Thomas Berney (d. 1742), 5th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • Sir Julian Reedham Stuart Berney (b. 1952), 11th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • Sir John Berney (1757-1825), 7th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • Sir Henry Hanson Berney (1843-1907), 9th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • Sir Hanson Berney (1780-1870), 8th Baronet of Parkehell, English peer
  • John Berney Ladbrooke (1803-1879), English landscape painter, third son of Robert Ladbrooke

The Berney Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nil temere, neque timore
Motto Translation: Nothing rashly.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, 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) on Facebook