Birnil History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
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 Birnil. 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 Birnil 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 Birnil is de Bearnabhal.
Early Origins of the Birnil family
The surname Birnil 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" 
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 County Cork, previously to the landing of his chief, Earl Strongbow, in Leinster. Sir Michael is mentioned in the records of the Tower of London, as one of the leading captains in the enterprise; and in the reigns of Henry II. and Richard I. he was Lord, by tenure, of Beerhaven and Bantry. " 
"The Barons Trimleston, like the Viscounts Kingsland, descend from the De Bernevals of Brittany. Sir Christopher Barnewall of Crickstown, in the county of Meath, was Chief Justice of the King's Bench in Ireland in 1445-1446. After the subjection of Ireland in the time of Henry II, Michael de Berneval, who served under Strongbow, obtained large grants of land at Beerhaven, county Cork, of which the O'Sullivans had been dispossessed. Here the Bernevals flourished in great prosperity until the reign of John, when the Irish rose against them, and destroyed every member of the family but one, who happened to be in London learning the law. The latter, returning to Ireland, was settled at Drumnagh, near Dublin, where his posterity remained until the reign of James I. " 
Early History of the Birnil family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birnil research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1646, 1640, 1470, 1538, 1534, 1538, 1592, 1663, 1622, 1534, 1550, 1560, 1704, 1779, 1779, 1842, 1500, 1552, 1522, 1575, 1592 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Birnil History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birnil Spelling Variations
During an investigation of the origin of each name, it was found that church officials and medieval scribes spelled many surnames as they sounded. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, a name could be spelt numerous ways. Some of the spelling variations for the name Birnil include Barnewall, Barnwall, Barnwill, Barnewill, Barnewell, Barnewelle, Barnwelle, Barnwell, Bernwell, Barneville and many more.
Early Notables of the Birnil family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Barnewall, 3rd Baron Trimleston (1470-1538), High Chancellor of Ireland; John Barnewall, 3rd Baron Trimlestown (1534-1538.)
Nicholas Barnewall, 1st Viscount Kingsland (1592-1663), who belonged to the family of Barnewall, or De Berneval. 
Sir Patrick Barnewall or Barnwall (d. 1622), was the eldest son of Sir Christopher Barnewall of Turvey, Gracedieu, and Fieldston, son of Sir Patrick, who in 1534...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birnil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birnil family to Ireland
Some of the Birnil family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 114 words (8 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 Birnil family
A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those 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. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Birnil: 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..
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The Birnil 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.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print