Last name origins & meanings:
- English, French, Dutch, Polish, Czech, and Slovenian: from a
Germanic personal name (see Bernhard). The popularity of the
personal name was greatly increased by virtue of its having been borne
by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c.1090–1153), founder and abbot
of the Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux.
- Americanized form of
German Bernhard or any of the other cognates in European
languages; for forms see Hanks and Hodges 1988.
- The first bearer of the name in Canada was from the Lorraine region
of France. He is documented in Quebec city in 1666 as Jean Bernard. He
and some of his descendants bore the secondary surnames Anse and
Hanse, because his original forename must have been Hans (the German
equivalent of French Jean, English John). Another bearer, from La
Rochelle, is documented in Quebec city in 1676; and a third, from the
Poitou region of France, was also documented in Quebec city, in 1713,
with the secondary surname Léveillé. Other documented secondary
names are Jolicoeur, Larivière, and Lajoie.
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