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

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

The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman names that came to Ireland in the 12th century. The surname Burk 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.


Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Burk that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burk 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 Burk History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Burk:

Burk Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Roger Burk, aged 18, landed in New England in 1635
  • Ann Burk, who landed in Virginia in 1647
  • Anna Burk, who arrived in Virginia in 1647
  • Ann Burk who settled in Virginia in 1647
  • William Burk, who landed in Maryland in 1663

Burk Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Burk, who arrived in Virginia in 1700
  • Margt Burk, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Jone Burk, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Mary Burk, who landed in Virginia in 1715
  • Catherine Burk, who landed in Virginia in 1715

Burk Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Burk, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Jeremiah Burk, aged 26, landed in New York in 1812
  • Sibby Burk, who landed in New York NY in 1816
  • James Burk, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • George Burk, who landed in New York, NY in 1828

Burk Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Harry Burk, who landed in New York, NY in 1903


  • Martha Burk (b. 1941), American political psychologist, feminist, and former Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations
  • Dean Burk (1904-1988), American biochemist and co-discoverer of biotin
  • Adrian Matthew Burk (1927-2003), American football quarterback in the National Football League
  • Arthur Walter Burk (1915-2008), American mathematician
  • Bryan Burk (b. 1968), American television producer
  • Antonio Cornell Burk (b. 1980), American professional basketball player
  • Joseph William Burk (1914-2008), American oarsman and coach
  • Charles Sanford Burk (1887-1934), American pitcher in Major League Baseball
  • Jeff Burk (b. 1984), American author and editor of Bizarro and Horror fiction
  • John Daly Burk (1776-1808), Irish-born dramatist, historian and newspaperman



  • Burk(e) Family of Southwest Virginia and the Valley by John A. Kelly.

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.



  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. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  4. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Burk Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Burk 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 27 October 2014 at 13:11.

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