Burton Surname Genealogy

Burton derives from the place-name Burton, found
mainly in the midland
northern counties of England (the best known today being Burton on
Trent in
Staffordshire).  The derivation in most
cases is from the Old English burh meaning
“fort” and tun an “enclosure” or
“settlement.”  Ioluard in Burhtun
appeared as a name in Yorkshire as early as 1150

Burton Resources on

Burton Ancestry

The Burton name appeared in the English Midlands from
an early time.

Robert de Burton was
recorded in the village of Ibstock in Leicestershire around the year
1200.  From him came Sir William Burton,
bearer for Henry VI who died at the Battle of Towton in 1461:

  • there followed the Burtons of Lindley
    Hall where Ralph Burton was a country gentleman.  One
    son Robert was an Oxford scholar who
    wrote the classic book The Anatomy of
    .  Another son William was a
    noted antiquarian.
  • from another line via Sir William’s brother came
    Richard Burton, the sheriff of Derbyshire in 1628.

Other early
Burtons were Burton MP’s in
Nottinghamshire before and after the year 1400, Thomas Burton the wool
Loughborough in Leicestershire, and the Burtons of Longner Hall near Shrewsbury
in Shropshire.  Burtons have been living
at Longner Hall since 1346 and
perhaps earlier and are still there. Edward
Burton of this family survived Towton in 1461 and was
afterwards by Edward IV.  Richard Burton,
the 19th century explorer and orientalist, was a later descendant of
this family.

In the
mid 19th century John Burton from
Collingham in Nottinghamshire trained as a printer and then set up a
photography studio in Leicester.  He
prospered and even attracted royal patronage.
On his death in 1881 two of his sons, Oliver and John, carried
on his
business,  Two other sons, Alfred and
Walter, emigrated to New Zealand in 1868 and set up a successful
studio in Dunedin (although Walter later sadly took his own life)

Yorkshire  The
Burton name soon extended
north into Yorkshire.  Henry Burton was a
Puritan from the West Riding who had his ears cut off in 1637 for his
anti-establishment pamphlets.  Richard
Burton who emigrated to Virginia in the 1630’s came from a Yorkshire
family in
the West Riding.  Ralph Burton from
Cottingham in the East Riding was a colonial administrator in Canada in
1760’s.  Burtons were recorded in the
Grewelthorpe area of north Yorkshire from the 1770’s.

Elsewhere  The
Burton architect family
in London was originally Haliburton from Scotland who had shortened
name.  Father James Burton designed much
of the Georgian London in the early 1800’s.
His son Decimus (the tenth in the family) was also a notable
another son James a well-known Egyptologist.

America.  Richard Burton, who came to
Virginia from
London in 1634, was probably the first Burton to come to America.  His sons Thomas and John owned nearby
plantations, at Cobbs and Longfield in Henrico county. Descendant
Robert Burton fought in the
Revolutionary War and later served in the Continental Congress for
Virginia.  He was a guardian to his
nephew Hutchins Burton who became
the Governor of North Carolina. Numerous Burtons
of this family served on the
Confederate side during the Civil War.

John Burton from Raburn county in Georgia also fought on the
side.  His father Jeremiah had moved
there from South Carolina in the 1840’s, gave his name to Burton
township, and,
after it was flooded out in 1919, to Lake

Joseph Burton, a plumber from Romford in Essex, brought his
to Canada in 1818.  Later joined by
relatives, they made their home in Scarborough, now a suburb of Toronto.

Samuel and Hannah Burton from Lincolnshire
came around the same time and settled in Amherstburg,
Ontario where Taylor, the tenth in their family, was born.
Taylor was ordained an elder in the Mormon
church in 1843 and departed for Salt Lake valley five years later.  He practiced plural marriage and had twenty

Burton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Burton Names

Robert Burton was the 17th century
scholar at Oxford University, best known for his The
Anatomy of Melancholy
Sir Richard Burton
was a famous 19th century
explorer and writer.
, born Moshe Osinsky in Lithuania, founded Burton the large
UK men’s clothing
Richard Burton,
Richard Jenkins, was the Welsh-born actor of the 1960’s and 1970’s,
known as
well for his marriage to the actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Tim Burton
is an
American film director and producer

Select Burtons Today

  • 49,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 35,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 25,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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