Burr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Anglo-Saxon name Burr come from its first bearer, who was a determined person. The surname Burr is derived from the Old English word burre, which first appeared c. 1330 and has taken the spellings of bur and burr in modern English. Shakespeare used the word to describe a person who "clings like a burr" and is "difficult to shake off," but this sense of the word is probably much older.

Early Origins of the Burr family

The surname Burr was first found in Lincolnshire but we must look to West Bergholt in Essex for the earliest recording of the name. "A chantry was founded here in 1331, by J. De Bures, for a priest to officiate at the altar of the Virgin Mary." [1]

"The Bowers of Iwerne House, Dorset, claim descent from Michael de Bures, a contemporary of the Conquerors, whose son Walter gave its present name of Bures to a small manor he possessed near Calne in Wiltshire. Nicholas de Boure, 2 Richard II., was seated at Boure's Place, near Deverell, holding part of his estate in capite; and Boure's Field, in the same county, belonged to his brother William." [2]

"Sir Robert de Bures, Lord of Chartley, Stafford, served as Knight of the shire in 1313. Sir John de Bures of Somersetshire, several times mentioned at the same period in the Parliamentary Rolls, who likewise held lands in Berkshire and Gloucestershire." [2]

Further north in Scotland, the name is also an ancient one. "Burr is an old name in the district of Tarves, Aberdeenshire, and is still pretty general there. Andrew de Burr of Mundole and Culbyn had a remission in 1337, and Andrea Burr was clerk of liberation in 1342. Walter Bur or Burre had a charter of an annual rent in the lands of Tyrie and Sefield in the constabulary of Kinghorne from David II. Robert Bure was procurator in Glasgow in 1433, and in 1440-1442 a Robert Burr or Bur is mentioned as vicar of Peebles." [3]

Early History of the Burr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burr research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1340, 1397 and 1343 are included under the topic Early Burr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burr Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Burr has been spelled many different ways, including Burr, Bur, Burre and others.

Early Notables of the Burr family (pre 1700)

Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burr Ranking

In the United States, the name Burr is the 1,824th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [4]


United States Burr migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Burrs to arrive in North America:

Burr Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jehu Burr, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630 with his wife and son
  • Edward Burr who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jeremy Burr, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Mathew, Robert, and Edward Burr, brothers, who settled in Virginia in 1635

Australia Burr migration to Australia +

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

Burr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Burr, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 6th April 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Charles William Burr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838 [6]
  • Ann Burr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838 [6]
  • Frances Burr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838 [6]
  • Thomas Burr a surveyor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cleveland" in 1839 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Burr 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:

Burr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Amos Burr, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Cuba
  • William Burr, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoenix" in 1860
  • Henry Burr, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thames City" in 1860
  • Mr. Charles Burr, (b. 1858), aged 21, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [8]
  • Charles Burr, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Burr (post 1700) +

  • Aaron Burr (1756-1836), American Democratic Party politician, lawyer; (New York County 1784-85, 1797-99, Orange County 1800-01); New York State Attorney General, 1789-91; Appointed 1789; U.S. Senator from New York, 1791-97; Vice President of the United States, 1801-05 [9]
  • Francis Hardon Burr (1886-1910), American football player, eponym of the Francis H. Burr Award
  • Conrad Burr (b. 1968), American former NASCAR driver
  • Theodore Burr (1771-1822), American inventor credited with the Burr Arch Truss bridge
  • Bela L. Burr, American Republican politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ellington, 1902 [9]
  • Austin C. Burr, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Haddam, 1910 [9]
  • Alvin Burr, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Allegany County, 1835 [9]
  • Allen R. Burr, American Republican politician, Supervisor of Lansing Township, Michigan, 1857-58; Postmaster at Lansing, Michigan, 1861-62 [9]
  • Alfred Edmond Burr (b. 1900), American Democratic Party politician, Newspaper publisher; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1864, 1884, 1888 (member, Resolutions Committee) [9]
  • Albert George Burr (1829-1882), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Illinois State House of Representatives, 1861; U.S. Representative from Illinois 10th District, 1867-71; State Court Judge in Illinois, 1877 [9]
  • ... (Another 61 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Ewart Burr (d. 1912), aged 29, English Saloon Steward from Woolston, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [10]


Suggested Readings for the name Burr +

  • A General History of the Burr Family in America: with Genealogical Records from 1570 to 1878 by Charles Burr Todd.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCE GEORGE 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838PrinceGeorge-London.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CLEVELAND 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Cleveland.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 21) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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