MacWhatin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
When the Strongbownians arrived in Ireland, they encountered an established Irish system for creating hereditary surnames. However, like the Irish, the Anglo-Norman Strongbownians frequently had patronymic surnames, a form of surname that was formed from the name of the bearer's father, or another older relative. Therefore, since the Strongbownians' system was in many ways built on the same principles as the Irish, the two systems eventually attained a sort of merger. Since the Stronbownian's names often had Norman names which were French, diminutive suffixes, such as -ot, -et, -un, -in, or -el were added to the name of the bearer's father, or older relative. Another Norman way of creating a patronymic name was to use the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word "fils," and ultimately from the Latin "filius," both of which mean son. The surname MacWhatin is derived from the personal name Berold. In Munster, the Gaelic form of the surname MacWhatin is Baróid, while in Connacht, the Gaelic form is Bairéid.
Early Origins of the MacWhatin family
The surname MacWhatin was first found in Lincolnshire, where Matthew Baret was recorded between 1150 and 1155. The Barret family was also established in the English counties of Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Essex. However, they joined Strongbow in his invasion of Ireland in 1172 at the invitation of the King of Leinster, Dermot McMurrough. Strongbow granted lands to the family in County Cork and County Mayo where they became staunchly Irish.
Patrick Barret (d. 1415), was an Irish ecclesiastic and judge, one of the canons of the Augustinian abbey of Kells in Ossory, was consecrated Bishop of Ferns in Wexford by the Pope at Rome in December 1400. 
Not all of the family emigrated to Ireland, but today the name is better known there than in England. By example, "the manor of Ashton, or Ashtorre Barrett, in [the parish of St. Dominick, Cornwall], belonged for many generations to the ancient family of Barrett; but on failure of male issue it passed with an heiress in 1707 to the family of Prestwood." 
Early History of the MacWhatin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacWhatin research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1691, 1415, 1400, 1400, 1410, 1412, 1580, 1554, 1555, 1558, 1693, 1631 and 1713 are included under the topic Early MacWhatin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacWhatin Spelling Variations
It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name MacWhatin that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name MacWhatin has existed in the various shapes: Barrett, Barret, Barett, Baret, Barratt, Barrat, Barat, Baratt, McWhadden and many more.
Early Notables of the MacWhatin family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was Lord of Tirawley; Patrick Barrett (died 1415), an Irishman who held religious and secular high offices in Ireland, an Augustinian Canon at Kells Priory in County Kilkenny, Bishop of Ferns (appointed 1400), concentrated bishop at Rome (1400), Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1410 to 1412.
John Baret or Barret (d. 1580?), was an English lexicographer...
Migration of the MacWhatin family
In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name MacWhatin: Henry Barrett who settled in Virginia in 1652; Francis Barrett in Virginia in 1653; Patrick Barrett settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1789. In Newfoundland, John, of Poole, Dorset, England, settled in Bread and Cheese Cove, around 1728.