Posted on

Barnet(t) and Burnet(t)

We recently received the following enquiry “We are

Barnett and I would like to know how the variation in spelling came

about and why.”


Eileen Bailey replies as follows:

Burnet(t) and Barnet(t) both originate from Burnard(e). I think that

it is highly likely that the variation in spelling arises from local

dialects depending on where in the country people were living. Taking

into account the fact that names were spelt phonetically, (i.e. as the document scribe or record keeper heard it), it is common with most surnames to find variations in spelling even within baptismal records of one family.


Our theory would be that further south in Britain the pronounciation

was more likely to be Barnet(t) which, further north, in Scotland

would very easily sound like Burnet(t).