Birgass History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Birgass is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Birgass 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." 
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.
Early Origins of the Birgass family
The surname Birgass was 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. 
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. 
Further to the south in Cornwall, "the barton of Cuskease [in the parish of St. Erth] belonged formerly to the family of Burgess of Trethingey. From these it passed by an heiress to the Hoblyns of Nanswhyden, in whom it is still vested." 
Early History of the Birgass family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birgass research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1515, 1382, 1382, 1685, 1589, 1665, 1664, 1650, 1716, 1690, 1673, 1747, 1746 and are included under the topic Early Birgass History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birgass Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Burgess, Burgeis, Burghersh, Burges, Burgesse, Burgar, Bergiss, Bergess, Bargess, Bargeis, Bergeus, Burgeus, Burgeuss and many more.
Early Notables of the Birgass family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Berth de Borways; Cornelius Burges or Burgess, D.D. (ca.1589-1665), an English minister, descended from the Burgesses of Batcombe, Somerset; and Anthony Burges or Burgess (died 1664), a Nonconformist English clergyman, a prolific preacher and writer. On the infamous side, Captain Samuel Burgess (c. 1650-1716) was a member of Captain William Kidd's crew in 1690...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birgass Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birgass family to Ireland
Some of the Birgass family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 94 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birgass family
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Birgass or a variant listed above: John Burges who arrived in Virginia in 1635; John and Rachel Burges settled in Barbados in 1680 with their servants; Alexander Burgess arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1851.
Related Stories +
- ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
- ^ 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)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print