This is a very rare Scottish surname. It is believed to be locational either from a now 'lost' hamlet called Pairney, or from living by a riverlet called Pairney Burn, both in the county of Perthshire, and near to the village of Aucterader, the 'home' of the famous Gleneagles Hotel. The hamlet was recorded as Pirney in 1610, and later in 1627 as Pirnie, but thereafter seems to have disappeared. This in itself is not unusual. It is estimated that at least five thousand villages and even small towns, have disappeared from the maps of the British Isles in the past five centuries. This was as a result of changes in agricultural practices, urbanisation, and sometimes civil war, or even plagues. The place name probably means 'Pear Island' from the Olde English and early Gaelic words 'pirige eg'. The name may have referred to an actual island on a flood plain, or to a cultivated area, amongst the forest. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded, but Patrick Pirnie was a mason at Cargill, near Perth, in 1769, and apparently there were a family group of Pirnie's at Redgorton, Perthshire, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
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