Burn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Burn was first used as a surname in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton. The first Burn family lived in the county of Cumberland. On the onset, it is best first to establish that the family name Burns is in fact a Clan rather than a Sept of the Campbell Clan. A Roll of the Clans and Chiefs in 1597 shows the Burns Clan as having territories in the eastern Border marches of Scotland in East Teviotdale.

They were described as an unruly Clan. However, to relate the origins of this great Clan, we must go back to the year 1329, when their territories were located in the parish of Glenbervie. They had moved into these lands during the reign of King Edward I of England, from Burneshead, Cumberland, sometime around 1296.

Little is known about their previous history, but it is thought that they derived from a race called the Boernicians, a race of early Scots that ruled the north East coast of England as far north as Edinburgh. By 1375, the Clan had extended its territories to include Burnhouse of Kair, Burnside of Monboddo, Bralinmuir and Bon Jordan in Inchbreck, and Bernys in the barony of Renfrew.

"But for the name of the Scottish poet, genealogists north of the Tweed have a different origin - His forefathers are said to have come from Taynuilt or Burnhouse there, and emigrated to Forfarshire, where they - of course they were Campbells - were designated by the name Campbells of Burnhouse, and latterly Burness or simply Burns." [1]

Further to the south in England, there is another possible origin of the name: "this surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the burn,' i.e. stream; Middle English burne or bourne. More especially parishes in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, and Hampshire." [2]

Early Origins of the Burn family

The surname Burn was first found in Cumberland, where the original name was Burness. Even Robert Burns and his brother both agreed to shorten their name to Burns due to the difficulty in pronunciation by the Gaelic tongue. Later, the name was also spelled Bourne, Burn and even Bernes.

The famed Robert "Rabbie" Burns (1759-1796), Scottish poet and lyricist is best known as the national poet of Scotland, and author of "Auld Lang Syne." He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland and was eldest of the seven children of William Burnes (1721-1784), a self-educated tenant farmer.

Early History of the Burn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burn research. Another 172 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1603, 1851, 1877, 1759, 1796, 1741 and are included under the topic Early Burn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burn Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Burn has been spelled Burns, Burnes, Burness and others.

Early Notables of the Burn family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Burn family to Ireland

Some of the Burn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Burn migration to the United States +

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Burn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Burn, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [3]
  • Genet Burn, who landed in Virginia in 1723 [3]
  • Jacob Burn, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [3]
  • Eliz Burn, aged 18, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [3]
  • Michall Burn, aged 39, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Burn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Burn, who arrived in America in 1806 [3]
  • William Burn, aged 40, who landed in Maryland in 1812 [3]
  • Patrick Burn, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1849 [3]
  • N Burn, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • E W Burn, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Burn migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Burn Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ephraim Burn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Burn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mary Burn, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Hugh Burn U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 223 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York [4]
Burn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Michael Burn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1815
  • Mary Burn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1818

Australia Burn migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Burn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Philip Burn, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Edward Burn, a engineer, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Christopher Burn a seaman, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Lady Mary Pelham" in 1836 [6]
  • Elizabeth Burn, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838 [7]
  • James Burn, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Burn migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Burn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Burn, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eagle" in 1854
  • Miss Margaret Burn, (b. 1844), aged 23, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" sailing to Auckland and Lyttelton, New Zealand on 29th July 1867 [9]
  • Mr. George Hy. Burn, (b. 1864), aged 15, Cornish labourer departing on 25th April 1879 aboard the ship "Orari" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand in 1879 [10]
  • C. Burn, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wairoa" in 1881

Contemporary Notables of the name Burn (post 1700) +

  • Harry Thomas Burn Sr. (1895-1977), American politician, Member of the Tennessee General Assembly for McMinn County, Tennessee
  • Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burn (b. 1953), American director and producer
  • William Burn (1789-1870), Scottish architect, a pioneer of the Scottish Baronial style, perhaps best known for his work on St Johns Princes Street Edinburgh, son of Robert Burn (d. 1815) [11]
  • Robert Burn (d. 1815), Scottish architect, known for Nelson's Monument on Calton Hill and for falling out of favour with Robert Burns who had commissioned him build a monument for the poet Robert Fergusson who died in the poorhouse
  • Robert Scott Burn (1825-1901), Scottish engineer and author of The illustrated London drawing book in 1852
  • Richard Burn (1709-1785), English legal writer and historian, born at Winton in Westmorland in 1709, and educated at Queen’s College, Oxford [11]
  • John Southerden Burn (1798-1870), English solicitor and antiquary
  • Sir John Burn FRCP FRCPE FRCOG FRCPCH FMedSci (b. 1952), English Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University
  • William John Burn (1851-1896), English Anglican colonial bishop, Bishop of Qu’Appelle (now Saskatchewan) (1893-1896)
  • John Southerden Burn (1884-1958), English physician and bronze medalist rower at the 1908 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Joseph Burn, British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Alexander R Burn, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]

  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY MARY PELHAM 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836LadyMaryPelham.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCE GEORGE 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838PrinceGeorge-London.htm
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Western Australia, Australia in 1855 with 261 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1855
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Wellington 1872-1880 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nz_wellington.pdf    
  11. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html

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