Birnis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Birnis family's name is derived from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain following the Norman Conquest of island in 1066. Their name originated with an early member who was a small child. The surname springs from the middle English bairn, of the same meaning.  
Early Origins of the Birnis family
The surname Birnis was first found in Surrey at Barnes, a parish, in the union of Richmond, W. division of the hundred of Brixton.  This parish was originally listed as Berne  in the Domesday Book of 1086.
According to the Saxon Chronicle, Siward Barn was the patriot rebel against William the Conqueror.  After that early listing, one of the first records of the name was found in Surrey as Philip de Bernes. 
Other early records include: Henry de le Berne in Norfolk; Richard de la Berne in Kent; and William de la Berne in Dorset, all listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273.  William Bernes was listed in the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1380 and Joan Barnes was also listed in Cheshire in 1450. 
Early Scottish sources revealed that the name was from "Barnes in the parish of Premnay, Aberdeenshire"  where the first record was found in the 15th century as Robert of Bernis, a goldsmith in 1465. 
Important Dates for the Birnis family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birnis research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1200, 1495, 1540, 1532, 1587, 1569, 1609, 1569, 1661, 1627, 1710, 1654, 1712, 1675 and are included under the topic Early Birnis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birnis Spelling Variations
Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Birnis include Barnes, Barns, Barnis, Bernys, Barness and others.
Early Notables of the Birnis family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include Robert Barnes (1495-1540), English Protestant divine and martyr, a Norfolk man, born in the neighbourhood of Lynn. "Barnes and his two companions, as heretics, were committed to the flames." 
Richard Barnes (1532-1587), Bishop of Durham, born at Bould, near Warrington, in Lancashire, son of John Barnes and Agnes Saunderson, his wife.
His son, Barnabe Barnes (1569?-1609), English poet, born in Yorkshire...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birnis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birnis family to Ireland
Some of the Birnis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 74 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 Birnis family
In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Birniss to arrive on North American shores: Robert Barnes, who came to Virginia in 1608; Barnaby Barnes who settled in Virginia in 1635. Also settling in Virginia were, Charles Barnes in 1653; Dorothy Barnes in 1653.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print