The earliest record of this name is that of an abbott of the Strathearn Monastery of Abernethy in Perthshire in the 12th century. His son was Orm de Abernethy, also an abbott who witnessed a Charter of William the Lion. Or may have given his name to to the lands of Ormison in East Lothian. Orm had a son called Lawrence. Lawrence went one to found the Baronial House of Abernethy, which lasted for over a Century. There is an account of this Historical Records of Leslie by Colonel Charles Leslie, K.H., 26th Baron of Balquhain, Edinburgh, 1869.
“The great lordship of Abernethy, of which the barony of Ballinbreich formed a part, was held by Orm, the son of Hugh, in the reign of Malcolm IV, about 1160, and also by grants from William the Lion, about 1190. Orm’s son, Lawrence, assumed the name of Abernethy from his lands. He gave the Canons of the priory of St. Andrews ten shillings yearly, payable out of Ballinbreich, with the consent of Sir Patrick Abernethy, his son and heir, about 1230. Sir Patrick’s son, Hugh de Abernethy, possessed great influence previous to and during the reign of Allexander III, about 1360.
Sir Hugh de Abernethy died before 3rd September 1296, as, on that date, we find that King Edward I of England ordered the sheriff of Forfar to repone Maria, quae fuit uxor Hugonis de Abernethy, in her lands. Sir Alexander de Abernethy succeeded his father. Sir Hugh. He swore fealty to Edward 1,10th July 1292, and again 25th June 1296, and adhered to the English interests. He was made warden of the country between the Forth and the mountains by Edward II in 1310. He was one of the English plenipotentiaries appointed to treat with King Robert Bruce in 1312. He got a grant from Edward II of the manor of Wyleighten, 3rd May 1313. On the death of Sir Alexander de Abernethy the lordship of Abernethy was divided between his daughters and co-heiresses, Margaret, married to John Stuart, Earl of Angus, and Mary, married to Sir Andrew de Leslie, VI Dominus Ejusdem.”
There were Abernethies living in Upper Lauderdale in the 13th century. In 1399, John of Abrenethy, a knight of Scotland was given safe conduct in England as was George Abrnnete in 1465.
Lord Abernethy was one of three people who originally sought refuge at the church of Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire, where they were granted protection of the church and ‘the Kings Peace’, granted by David
Sir Andrew was the last of the Lordship of Abernethy that can so far be proven. Abernethy was the first sept of Clan Leslie.
Mary Abernethy, who married Andrew, the Sixth Lord Leslie. The marriage took place in 1316. With it, Sir Andrew acquired the barony of Ballinbreich (the Clan Leslie battle cry) in Fifeshire, and the barony of Cairney (which presumably is now Cairny — Carney became a Leslie Sept) in Forfar. The charters were granted by King Robert I the Bruce.
Sir Andrew quartered the Arms of Abernethy with his own, which shield subsequently was carried by the Earls of Rothes. From this union descended the remaining Lords Leslie, the Earls of Rothes and Ross, and the first Baron of Balquhain. From the last-named are descended, aside from the Rothes, about all the branches of the Leslies in Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Russia, France and so on. This means that any Leslie in direct descent from any of those branches has at least an atom of Abernethy blood, which makes Mary an ancestress to a vast number of Leslies.
The family of Abernethy continued and remains one of the older Scottish Families going back to the 13th Century. They dispersed around the world. In the 17th Century, Interestingly while many Scots established themselves on the Continent, Aberneys appeared in Prussia as “Abernetti” and in Sweden as “Ebbernet.
The first of the family reported to have appeared in America was one William Abernathy who is said to have arrived in Connecticut during the first half of the 17th century. Abernathys also settled in Ireland. One of them, John (1680-1740) became a celebrated and highly controversial clergyman. John was educated at the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh and was then appointed divine at Antrim, Ireland where he was for the next fourteen years. He was then embroiled in dissention within the Irish Presbyterian Church and contributed to a schism within it which lasted a century. John was considered a trouble-maker. An English historian has said of him that his name should be “honoured by all who love freedom of conscience and opinion.”
Another John born 1764 in London, was a famous surgeon and medical professor. His lectures became so popular that the hospital to which he was attached had to build an auditorium to take care of all his students.
Various spellings of the name include Abernethy, Abrenethy, Abrnnete, Haberinthan, Abirnythy, Albirnyth, Abernethi, Abernetti, Ebbernet, and Habernethi.