The Past Whispers And I Remember



This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational name from Burnhouse in Scotland. The place name derives from the Middle English "burn", stream, and "house", house. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often used their former village or hamlet name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide distribution of the name in the surrounding areas.

The surname is first recorded in Yorkshire in the early 13th Century, over three hundred years before it is found in Scotland. David Burnis is listed as being a follower of the earl of Cassilis in 1526.

In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Burness, Burnes and Burns. On June 5th 1608, Bessie Burnes married Charles Bryson in Edinburgh, Midlothian, and on September 28th 1760, Gilbert, son of William and Agnes Burness was christened at Alloway, Ayr.
A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a gold shield, and on a blue fess, between two black spur rowels in chief and a black hunting horn stringed in base, a gold water bouget, the Crest being a demi-Pegasus, winged gold.

The Motto, "Perseverantia vincit", translates as, "Perseverance Conquers".

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Brenhus, which was dated 1208, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.
Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. 

Burns is the surname of my maternal line.



This famous personal and later surname, is of pre 5th century German origins. Recorded in over one hundred different spellings ranging from Barnard, Benard, and Bernat, to Bernth, Bernucci, and Bieratowicz, it derives from the male personal name "Bernhard or Beornheard", comprising the elements "bern", meaning the bear, plus "hard", meaning brave, strong or hardy. Perhaps not surprisingly given the meaning of "Hardy bear" the name was always popular.

The surname was first recorded in England in the 12th century. Here records were kept much earlier than was usual in other European countries, and England was the first country to adopt hereditary surnames as we know them today. The initial popularity of the name was also given a boost by the fame of two early saints. These were St. Bernard of Clairvaux (circa 1010 - 1153), the founder of the Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux, and St. Bernard of Menthon (923 - 1108), the founder of Alpine hospices and patron saint of mountaineers.

Early examples of the surname recording include Thomas Bernhard of Cambridge, England, in the year 1260, Albertus Berenhardus of Schwenningen, Germany, in 1290, and Gregorius Bernhardt, christened at Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany, on January 18th 1549. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Hugo Bernard, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the city of Lincoln, England.

This was during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 

Bernard is the surname of my paternal line.




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