An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: English, Scottish
The story of the Burney family is rich with Scottish history. It begins in the ancient kingdom of Dalriada where Burney evolved as a name for some who lived in Brennath in Moray, where the name became Birnie. There is also a Birnie in the shire of Elgin. The village of Birnie was originally called Brenuth, from brae-nut, which means "hazel trees". Natives of Birnie, using a local dialect, also called the village Burn-nigh, which means near the burn river. This local name, particularly in medieval times, is prefixed by "de", which means "from." During the Middle Ages, the Birney family became a part of the landed gentry and they wielded considerable prestige and influence in the region of the Scottish borderlands.
Historical recordings of the name Burney include many spelling variations. They include They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. Birnie, Birney, Birny, Birnye, Byrnye, Byrny, Berney, Birne, Byrne, McBirny, McBirnie, McBurny, McBurnie and many more.
First found in Elginshire a former county in northeastern Scotland, in the present day Scottish Council Area of Moray, where Birnie Kirk, a Church of Scotland church built c. 1140 is still found today. It was the first cathedral of the Bishop of Moray. The church is one of the oldest in Scotland to have been in continuous use through the centuries. Birnie Loch is a man-made loch located in North East Fife from a flooded gravel pit. Birnie Island is a small, uninhabited coral island, 20 hectares in area, part of the Phoenix Island group in central Pacific ocean named after the London firm Alexander Birnie & Co in 1823. The MacBirnie (MacBurnie and MacBurney) variant was first found in 1466 when David M'Birny was a witness in Kirkcudbright. 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burney research. Another 229 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1500, 1520, 1591, 1680 and are included under the topic Early Burney History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Burney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Burney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Burneys to arrive on North American shores:
Burney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Burney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Burney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Burney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
This page was last modified on 4 April 2016 at 13:57.