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BURKE Family History

DE BURGH (of the burgh - Old German for `fort/castle`) Gaelicised de Burca, Anglicised Burke and Bourke.

William de Burgh arrived in Ireland shortly after the Norman invasions of the 1170s. He was made Lord of Connacht and acquired lands there, and Munster, where the baronies of Clanwilliam are named after him. (MacWilliam was a byname). Richard Mor de Burgh, his son, extended their power; some descendants became known as Clanricarde (Clan Richard), fearsome warriors throughout the late Middle Ages and beyond.

These Normans likely derived their name from Walter de Burgh of Burgh Castle in East Anglia; there is also a legend that they descend from Robert de Burgo, half brother of William the Conqueror. In any case there are early continental forms of the name, - burg is fort in Old German - Walter is also a Germanic name.

In Petty`s 1659 'Census', Bourke/Burke is given as a Principal Irish Name in Clanwilliam Barony, Co Limerick (where there are several `tituladoes` or landowners of the name also) and Limerick city.

Bourke is also present in Co Sligo in Leynie Barony and Tirerril Barony.

There are Bukes listed as such also in Co Offaly, e.g. in Clonlisk Barony, and in Co Laois in Ossory/Upper Ossory Baronies.

The returns for Cos Galway and Mayo are missing in the 'Census'.

In Griffith`s Valuation (1847-1864) the counties with most Burke households were: Galway (906), Tipperary (674), Mayo (458), Cork (332+26 city)) and Limerick (283+23 city).

The 1890 Births Register show most Burke entries in Galway, Cork, Dublin, Mayo, Tipperary and Waterford.

A Famous Bearer:
Bernard Burke (1814-1892) Ulster King of Arms, and editor of Burke`s Peerage.

An infamous Bearer: William Burke (1792-1829) part of the duo of murderers and body-snatchers operating in Edinburgh 1827-1828


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Joe Burke

I would like to find out more about the Burke family.


I’m looking for information on Patrick Burke, who married Anne Garvey and had at least 2 children named Bridget (born approx 1888) and William (born approx 1896).


I have been searching for info on Ulick Burke b.1690. He was the first Burk of my family to come to the USA from Ireland. He came to Baltimore, Maryland. I have seen one tree that says he came from Galway but nothing to back that up or any info about his parents. If anyone has more information I would be forever grateful.


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