The ancestors of the McBernay surname are thought to have lived in the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The name McBernay was given to someone 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.
Early Origins of the McBernay family
The surname McBernay 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 McBernay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBernay research.Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1500, 1520, 1591, 1680 and are included under the topic Early McBernay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McBernay Spelling Variations
The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations
, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years McBernay has appeared as Birnie, Birney, Birny, Birnye, Byrnye, Byrny, Berney, Birne, Byrne, McBirny, McBirnie, McBurny, McBurnie and many more.
Early Notables of the McBernay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early McBernay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McBernay family to Ireland
Some of the McBernay family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 66 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 McBernay family to the New World and Oceana
Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence
. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan
societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants: William Birnie who settled in Philadelphia in 1811; David Birney settled in Philadelphia in 1840; William McBerney settled in New York State in 1804; James McBirney settled in Philadelphia in 1844.
The McBernay 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
McBernay Family Crest Products
- ^ 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)