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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Burgess family come from? What is the English Burgess family crest and coat of arms? When did the Burgess family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Burgess family history?

The name Burgess was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Burgess family lived in Sussex. This line are believed to be descended from the Barons Burghersh, which later became Burwash, a parish in that county. A line of the family also remained in Normandy, as Simon de Borgeis was noted there in 1195. But originally the family was from Bourgeois in Picardy, France. This line of barons became extinct in 1369.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Burgess, Burgeis, Burghersh, Burges, Burgesse, Burgar, Bergiss, Bergess, Bargess, Bargeis, Bergeus, Burgeus, Burgeuss and many more.

First found in Sussex where they are believed to be descended from the Barons Burghersh, which later became Burwash, a parish in that county. They were from Bourgeois of Champagne in Picardy. The Barons Burgeis became extinct in 1369.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burgess research. Another 333 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1382, 1382, 1685, 1589, 1665, 1664, 1650, 1716, 1690 and are included under the topic Early Burgess History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 133 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burgess Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Burgess family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Burgess or a variant listed above:

Burgess Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Joane Burgess, who landed in Maryland in 1638
  • Alexander Burgess, who arrived in New England in 1651-1652
  • Joseph Burgess, who landed in Virginia in 1652
  • Robert Burgess, who landed in Virginia in 1652

Burgess Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Richard Burgess, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Tho Burgess, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Eliz Burgess, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Edward Burgess, who arrived in Virginia in 1712
  • Thos Burgess, who arrived in Virginia in 1714


Burgess Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Robt Burgess, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Samuel Burgess, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • George Burgess, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1847
  • Ann and George Burgess, who arrived in Boston in 1847
  • Alexander Burgess jumped ship, the "Royal George," and settled at Witless Bay in 1847


Burgess Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • W Burgess, who landed in Arkansas in 1905

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  • Lieutenant General Ronald L Burgess Jr. (b. 1952), American Army officer, Deputy Director of National Intelligence from 2005 to 2007
  • Neil Burgess (1846-1910), American vaudeville comedian
  • Thornton Burgess (1874-1965), American conservationist and children's author
  • Michael C. Burgess (b. 1950), American physician and politician
  • Thomas Burgess (1756-1837), English author, philosopher, Bishop of Saint David's and Bishop of Salisbury
  • George Henry Burgess (1831-1905), English landscape painter, wood engraver and lithographer
  • Sir John Burgess (1913-1987), English media executive, chairman of Reuters (1959-1969)
  • Mr. Charles Reginald Burgess, aged 18, English Extra Third Baker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 15
  • Charles William St John Burgess (1874-1922), known as Cathal Brugha, a leader in the Irish War of Independence and the Minister of Defense in the first Irish Parliament
  • Michael John Clement Burgess OBE (b. 1946), British coroner of The Queen's Household

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  • The Burgess Family by Harol Donal Burgess.
  • Burgess, Mullins, Browning, Brown and Allied Families by James A. Burgess.
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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Burgess Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Burgess Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 11 September 2014 at 03:40.

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