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Burkes Coat of Arms / Burkes Family Crest

Burkes Coat of Arms / Burkes Family Crest

This surname of BURKES, with its variant spelling, Bourke and Burke now ranks as one of the twenty commonest in Ireland, was brought to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman conquest of the country. It is now distributed through all four provinces but is least numerous in Ulster and most numerous in Connacht where the family, then known by the Latin form of their name, De BURGO, obtained vast estates at the end of the 12th Century. BURGH also survives as a version of this surname while some of the family reverted to De BURGH when it was fashionable to boast Norman ancestry. William De BURGA went to Ireland with Henry II in 1171, and later became Earl of Ulster, along with grants of large tracts of land in Connacht. His descendants quickly associated themselves with the native population, Gaelicizing their name as de BURCA, and within a century they had become the most powerful family in Ireland. In more recent centuries they have included Edmund Burkes (1729-97) the celebrated orator and political theorist, who was born in Dublin, where his father was an attorney, and Robert O'Hara Burke (1820-61), who with W.J.Wills was the first to cross Australia from north to south. In England the name was locational meaning the dweller by the birch-trees, from residence nearby. Early records of the name mention Richard del Birkes, 1275, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Johannes del Byrkes of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard Birkes of Oxford, registered at Oxford University in the year 1607. Edward Burkes married Susanna Selby at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1741. Benjamin Birks and Mary Slater, were married at the same church in 1753. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Earl of Clanricarde, Viscount Burke, chief of the House of Burke, anciently de Burgh). Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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