McBirnie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
McBirnie is a name that dates back to the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It 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 McBirnie family
The surname McBirnie 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. 
Early History of the McBirnie family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBirnie research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1500, 1520, 1591, 1680, 1563, 1619, 1563, 1584 and are included under the topic Early McBirnie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McBirnie Spelling Variations
Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McBirnie has been spelled Birnie, Birney, Birny, Birnye, Byrnye, Byrny, Berney, Birne, Byrne, McBirny, McBirnie, McBurny, McBurnie and many more.
Early Notables of the McBirnie family (pre 1700)
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McBirnie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McBirnie family to Ireland
Some of the McBirnie 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.
McBirnie migration to New Zealand +
Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:
McBirnie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Mr. John McBirnie, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 16th December 1876, for Invercargill 
Contemporary Notables of the name McBirnie (post 1700) +
- Bill McBirnie (b. 1953), Canadian jazz and Latin flutist chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards
- Andrew McBirnie (b. 1971), British composer, music educator and administrator
Related Stories +
The McBirnie 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
- ^ 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)
- ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html