Barnett / Family History
The family history of the ancient name Barnett was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'the son of Bernard', Barnett is a baptismal name brought to England by the Normans and immediately following the conquest became very popular by virtue of being borne by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, founder and Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery at Clairvaux. Variants include Bernard, Barnard, Bernadine, Barnet and Benard. This name is of Anglo-Norman descent spreading to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in the these countries. Examples of such are a William filius Bernardi who was recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England, in the year 1273 and an Abel Bernarde, County Oxfordshire, who was registered in the University of Oxford, in the year 1581. In Ireland the Irish philanthropist, Doctor Thomas Barnardo, 1845-1905, founded the orphanages that still bear his name. In Scotland the Bernardes trace their descent back to John Bernardes Corea, 1778.
The Barnett family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Barnett descendants.