The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman surnames that came to Ireland
in the 12th century. Ireland
already had an established system of hereditary surnames
, often the two traditions blended together quite well, but the incoming Anglo- Normans
also brought with them local
surnames, such as Birnal. Local
names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born, some from places in Normandy
, or more typically, from England
. Originally, the place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname if the place name began with a vowel or was eliminated entirely. The Birnal family appears to have originally lived in either of the settlements called Barnwell in the English counties of Cambridge and Northumberland
. The Gaelic form of the surname Birnal is de Bearnabhal.
Early Origins of the Birnal family
The surname Birnal was first found in County Meath
at Crickstown Castle. "De Bernvale, accompanied William the Conqueror to England
in 1066. He came from Lower Brittany
, and was allied to the dukes of that province" CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Another source is more specific: "Sir Michael de Berneval, a scion of the family founded by the Norman knight, joined the English expedition fitted out against Ireland
and affected a descent upon Beerhaven in the co. of Cork. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Birnal family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birnal research.Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1646, 1640, 1534, 1538, 1704, 1779, 1779, 1842, 1500, 1552, 1522, 1575, 1592 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Birnal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birnal Spelling Variations
Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Birnal revealed many spelling variations
including Barnewall, Barnwall, Barnwill, Barnewill, Barnewell, Barnewelle, Barnwelle, Barnwell, Bernwell, Barneville and many more.
Early Notables of the Birnal family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Barnewall, 3rd Baron
Trimlestown (1534-1538); Robert Barnewall, 12th Baron
Trimlestown (c.1704-1779), a prominent Anglo-Irish landowner, active in the Roman Catholic cause... Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birnal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birnal family to Ireland
Some of the Birnal family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 217 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birnal family to the New World and Oceana
The Irish emigration during the late 18th and 19th century contributed to the melting pot of nationalities in North America, and the building of a whole new era of industry and commerce in what was seen as a rich, new land. Ireland's Great Potato Famine
resulted in the worst economic and social conditions in the island's history. And in response to the hunger, disease, and poverty, during this decade the total number of emigrants to leave for North America rivaled all the previous years combined. Those from this decade that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Research into early immigration and passenger lists has shown many people bearing the name Birnal: Nicholas Barnwel who settled in Barbados in 1679; John arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1798; Robert settled there in 1831; Thomas landed in New York state in 1823..
The Birnal 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: Malo mori quam foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.