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BARNEY Family HistoryRecorded in over one hundred different spellings ranging from Barnard, Benard, Bernat, to diminutives such as Barney, Berney, Berni, Bernardeau, Berent, Bernucci, Bieratowicz, and patronymics including Barnardez, Bernardes, Behrendsen, this is a surname of pre 5th century Germanic origins. It derives from the male personal name Bernhard or Beornheard, comprising the elements "bern", meaning the bear, plus "hard", 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...
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