The rugged west coast of Scotland
and the desolate Hebrides
islands are the ancestral home of the MacBurney family. Their name indicates that the original bearer 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.
Early Origins of the MacBurney family
The surname MacBurney was 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. CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
Early History of the MacBurney family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacBurney research.Another 200 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1500, 1520, 1591, 1680 and are included under the topic Early MacBurney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacBurney Spelling Variations
Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations
are extremely common among early Scottish names. MacBurney has been spelled Birnie, Birney, Birny, Birnye, Byrnye, Byrny, Berney, Birne, Byrne, McBirny, McBirnie, McBurny, McBurnie and many more.
Early Notables of the MacBurney family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early MacBurney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacBurney family to Ireland
Some of the MacBurney family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 109 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 MacBurney family to the New World and Oceana
The hardy Scots who made the crossing settled all along the east coast of North America and in the great west that was just then opening up. At the time of the American War of Independence
, many United Empire Loyalists moved north from the American colonies to Canada. Scottish national heritage became better known in North America in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic events. An examination of immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name MacBurney arrived in North America very early:
MacBurney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Mrs. MacBurney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 CITATION[CLOSE]
Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
The MacBurney 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: Sapere aude incipe
Motto Translation: Dare to be wise, begin at once