Show ContentsBirnett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Birnett is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived on or near land cleared for cultivation by burning off the forest.

The name may also have been patronymic as in "'the son of Bernard,' or 'Barnard.' The Cistercian monk gave a wonderful impetus in the 13th century to this name, already popular. A large number of Bernards sprang up in Furness after the Abbey came under the Bernardino rule." [1]

Early Origins of the Birnett family

The surname Birnett was first found in Herefordshire at Chipping Barnet, a parish, town, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Cashio. "This place, called also High Barnet, from its situation on the summit of a hill, derives its distinguishing name from the privilege granted to the monks of St. Alban's, of holding a market here. On April 5th, 1471, the decisive battle which terminated in the defeat and death of the Earl of Warwick, and established Edward IV. on the throne, took place on Gladmore Heath, a mile north-west of the town." [2]

Barnet by the Wold is a parish, in the union of Glandford-Brigg, S. division of the wapentake of Yarborough, parts of Lindsey, Lincolnshire, East Barnet is a parish, in the union of Barnet, hundred of Cashio, Herefordshire and Fryern Barnet is a parish, in the union of Barnet, Finsbury division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex. "It is supposed that an abbey anciently existed here from which the place obtained the prefix to its name, and that the old manor-house, now taken down, was the summer residence of the abbots. " [2]

The singular name Bernadus was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Huntingdonshire. [3] A few years later, it appeared again in Norfolk (1101-1116.) [4]

With a forename, one the earliest records was that of John Barnet (d. 1373), an English bishop successively of Worcester, Bath and Wells, and Ely, and was chaplain to Thomas Lisle. [5]

Early History of the Birnett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birnett research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1760, 1836, 1806, 1807, 1816, 1820, 1799, 1820 and are included under the topic Early Birnett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Birnett Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Birnett has been spelled many different ways, including Barnett, Barnette, Barnet and others.

Early Notables of the Birnett family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include James Barnett (c. 1760-1836), an English banker and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons and a Member of Parliament for Rochester (1806-1807) and (1816-1820.) Thomas Barnett (1799-1890), born in Birmingham, England, moved to Canada...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birnett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Birnett family to Ireland

Some of the Birnett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 71 words (5 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 Birnett family

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Birnetts to arrive in North America: John Barnett who settled in Virginia in 1620; Robert Barnett who settled in Virginia in 1653; Richard Barnett who settled in Virginia in 1652; and many more. In Newfoundland, Andrew Barnet settled in St. John's in Lower Road in 1780.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook