Burnias History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Burnias reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Burnias family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Burnias family lived in the hundred of North Greenhow, Norfolk where the town of Berney (Barney) was once found. [1] Looking back further, the family were Norman and claimed descent from Calvados, Normandy. "Ralph de Bernai, of Worcester and Hereford, witnessed a charter of Malmsbury Abbey, temp. William I., and was a tenant of William Fitz- Osborne, Earl of Hereford. In 1096, Robert de Bernay witnessed a charter of Stephen, Count of Aumerle, for the monks of Beauvais (Monasticon Anglicanum). The Baronets Berney derive their name from the English locality. " [2]

Another source has a slightly different bent on the origin: "The baronet's family are asserted to have been seated 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. Bernays is of distinct origin, being a recent importation from Germany; it is supposed that the latter family were originally French, and that they derived their designation from the town of Bernay, in the department of the Eure, in Normandy." [3]

Early Origins of the Burnias family

The surname Burnias was first found in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Suffolk where Ralph de Bernai was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Many people claim descent from the Domesday Book, but truthfully few people do. This entry is particularly interesting as it is a record of a forename and surname, while in most cases only a surname is recorded.

Later Norfolk records show: Henry de Berney, 1268; Adam de Berney, 15 Edward I; Richard de Berney, 48 Edward III; Sir Thomas de Berney, of Reedham, 1389; and Roger Burney, vicar of Holm-by-the-Sea, 1451. [5]

Sir Robert Berney (before 1365-1415) of Great Witchingham, Norfolk was Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1406-1430. His father (d. 1374) was elected knight of the shire for Norfolk four times between 1346 and 1368, and in the course of his career he acquired a number of landed holdings in the county.

Early History of the Burnias family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burnias research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1558, 1620, 1622, 1697, 1759, 1591, 1668, 1693, 1706, 1688, 1710, 1742, 1778, 1757, 1825, 1780, 1870, 1843, 1907, 1900, 1893, 1975 and 1952 are included under the topic Early Burnias History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burnias Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Barney, Berney, Barny, Berny, Barnie, Bernie, Bernaye, Bairney, Bearnie, Bearny, Bernais, Berneys, Berneyes, Bearnay and many more.

Early Notables of the Burnias family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Barney who was listed on the Register of the University of Oxford in 1591. [1] The Berney Baronets, of Parkehall include: Sir Richard Berney, 1st Baronet (died 1668); Sir Thomas Berney, 2nd Baronet (died 1693); Sir Richard Berney, 3rd Baronet (died 1706); Sir Richard Berney, 4th Baronet (1688-1710)...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burnias Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Burnias family to Ireland

Some of the Burnias 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 Burnias family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Burnias name or one of its variants: Jacob Barney who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1620; James Barney settled in Virginia in 1650; Phon Barney who settled in Virginia in 1650. Thomas Barney settled in St. John's Newfoundland 1821.



  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. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print


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