Burness History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The ancient name Burness was first used by the Strathclyde people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is derived from the personal name Burnhouse, derived from the words burn, meaning "stream," and house, meaning a house.
Early Origins of the Burness family
The surname Burness was first found in Cumberland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Important Dates for the Burness family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burness research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1495, and 1560 are included under the topic Early Burness History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Burness Spelling Variations
In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Burness has been spelled Burness, Burnes, Burnace, Burnice, Burnhouse, Burnshead, Burnish, Burnist, Bernis and many more.
Early Notables of the Burness family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Burness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Burness family to Ireland
Some of the Burness family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Burness migration to the United States
Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:
Burness Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Margaret Burness, who settled in East New Jersey in 1685
Burness Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- James Burness, who settled in America in 1815
- James Burness, who arrived in America in 1815 
- Frederick Burness, who was on record in Philadelphia in 1850
Burness 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:
Burness Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- James Burness, aged 33, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "England" in 1872
- Jane Burness, aged 30, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "England" in 1872
- Jane Ann Burness, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "England" in 1872
- James Burness, aged 5, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "England" in 1872
- Alexander Thomas Burness, aged 4, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "England" in 1872
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name Burness (post 1700)
- Courtney T. Burness (b. 1995), American teen actress
- Donald S. Burness (1919-1987), All-American basketball player
- Wilson D. "Pete" Burness (b. 1910), American animator, film director, creator of Mr. Magoo, winner of two Academy Awards
- Gordon Burness (d. 1989), Scottish-Canadian-U.S. soccer wing forward
- Sheila Burness, who writes under the name of Ursula Bloom
- Gary Burness, Professor of Biology, at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
- Helen Burness Cruickshank (1886-1975), Scottish poet and suffragette
- ^ 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)