Origins Available: English
Birnay is a name that first reached England
following the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Birnay 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 Birnay family
The surname Birnay 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." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
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. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
Early History of the Birnay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birnay research.Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1622, 1668, 1622, 1693, 1706, 1688 and 1710 are included under the topic Early Birnay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birnay 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 Birnay 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 Birnay include Berney, Berny, Bernay, Bernays, Bernys, Burney and others.
Early Notables of the Birnay family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birnay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birnay family to Ireland
Some of the Birnay 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.
Migration of the Birnay family to the New World and Oceana
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
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 Birnay, or a variant listed above: Clough Berny who settled in Virginia in 1635; William Burney, and his wife settled with their three sons, his mother and father William, in Louisiana in 1797.
The Birnay 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.