Berniers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Berniers 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 Berniers family

The surname Berniers 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 Berniers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berniers 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 Berniers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berniers Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Berniers are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Berniers include Berner, Berners, Berniers, Burner, Burners, Burniers, Barners, Bearners and many more.

Early Notables of the Berniers family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Berniers family

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Berniers, or a variant listed above: Gregory Berners, who arrived in Halifax, N.S. in 1749; Jane Berners, who settled in Virginia in 1775; and Robert Berner, who arrived in Texas in 1852..

Citations

  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
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