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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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. The name is derived from the Middle English word burge(i)s, or the Old French word burgeis which both mean "inhabitant and freeman of a fortified town." [1] 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. [2] 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 one of the first records of the name was Ralph de Burgeis, who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex in 1195. Philip Burgis was listed in Leicestershire in 1199 and Philip Burges, Burgeis was listed in Oxfordshire in 1220, 1234. The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex listed Walter le Borgeys in 1296. [3] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Hawise Burgeys in Bedfordshire; Philip Burgeis on Oxfordshire; John le Burges in Southampton; and Thomas Burgeys in Norfolk. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 179 list: Adam Burgeys and Johannes Burges. [4]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burgess research. Another 363 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1515, 1382, 1382, 1685, 1589, 1665, 1664, 1650, 1716 and 1690 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 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 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 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 United States in the 20th Century


  • W Burgess, who landed in Arkansas in 1905

Burgess Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. Benjamin Burgess U.E who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 was part of the Port Matoon Association
  • Mr. John Burgess U.E who settled in Canada c. 1783
  • Patrick Burgess settled in St. Mary's, Newfoundland, in 1792

Burgess Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Daniel Burgess and his wife and their eight children, who settled in Prescott, Ontario in 1825
  • Daniel Burgess and his wife Avice settled in Prescott, Ontario, in 1825 with their seven children
  • Arthur Burgess, who immigrated to Quebec in 1850
  • Henry Burgess, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Burgess Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas S. Burgess, a joiner, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Burgess, a baker, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Henry Burgess arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
  • William Burgess arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairlee" in 1840
  • Elizabeth Burgess arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairlee" in 1840


Burgess Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Burgess landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Isaac James Burgess landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • W B Burgess landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Oriental
  • W. B. Burgess, aged 30, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mary Burgess, aged 38, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850


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  • Sharna Burgess, American actress, known for her wok on Dancing with the Stars
  • Jessie S. Burgess, American politician, Member of Michigan Prohibition Party State Central Committee, 1951-53
  • John Burgess, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Athlone, 1898-1905
  • John A. Burgess, American Democrat politician, Candidate for supervisor of Livonia Township, Michigan, 1949
  • John F. Burgess, American politician, Mayor of Salina, Kansas, 1983-84
  • John G. Burgess, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Kempt, 1898
  • John L. Burgess, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 11th District, 1976, 1978
  • John S. Burgess, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Vermont State Attorney General, 1962
  • Joy B. Burgess, American politician, Mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon, 1980-84
  • K. B. Burgess, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1940

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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. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. 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 18 January 2016 at 22:22.

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