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

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

The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman names that came to Ireland in the 12th century. The surname Burks is derived from the Old English word "burh," which is derived from the Old German word "burg," the common Germanic word for a fortification. It seems likely that the first family to bear this surname would have lived in or near a prehistoric fort situated on a hill. In the Norman fashion, surnames created from place names or geographic locations were prefixed by "de," which means "from" in French.

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During the Middle Ages, a single person often had their name recorded by church officials and scribes many different ways. Names were typically spelt as they sounded, which resulted in many different spelling variations. The many versions of the name Burks to have been recorded over the years include: de Burgh, Burke, Bourke, Burk, Bourk, Gillick and many more.

First found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where the family name is descended from the Norman noble William Fitzadelm de Burgo who went to Ireland in the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland and was the succeeded Strongbow as Chief Governor. Great stretches of land were given to this family in the year 1177. Richard Oge de Burc, son of William, became the "Lord Justice of Ireland" under King Henry II in 1177 and was regranted the lands of his father the following year. [1] Richard Mor de Burc, the older son of William, was the ancestor of the family name Bourke or Burke. They formed several septs, the two most important having been the MacWilliam Uachtar sept of county Galway, and the MacWilliam Lochtar sept of county Mayo.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burks research. Another 279 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1227, 1503, 1544, 1582, 1601, 1572, 1635, 1604, 1657, 1590, 1667, 1629, 1647, 1647, 1667, 1598, 1672, 1666, 1642 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Burks History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 271 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Burks:

Burks Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Bryan Burks, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

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  • Arthur Walter Burks (1915-2008), American mathematician who in the 1940s as a senior engineer on the project contributed to the design of the ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer
  • Mary Fair Burks (1920-1991), American educator, scholar, and civil rights activist
  • Robert Burks (1909-1968), American cinematographer known for being proficient in virtually every genre and won an Oscar for his work on Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • Tommy Burks (1940-1998), American Democratic party politician in Tennessee murdered by his Republican Party opponent
  • Antonio Cornell Burks (b. 1980), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Charlotte Gentry Burks (b. 1942), American farmer and Democratic party politician in Tennessee
  • Ellis Rena Burks (b. 1964), American former Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ung roy, ung foy, ung loy
Motto Translation: One king, one faith, one law.

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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  2. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  9. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The Burks Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Burks 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 5 July 2014 at 09:06.

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