The Burke side is the only part of my Irish family tree which I have so far discovered, mainly due to Irish records being so few and far between and no surviving census returns to aid Irish genealogy research.
The furthest back the Burke line can be traced is to the town of Clonmel and Thomas Burke, who is named as the father of Mary Burke, in the marriage record between her and Joseph Francis Chase in 18**, at St. Mary’s Church in Clonmel — the hometown of Mary Burke in County Tipperary.
Parish records in Ireland for both the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland (Anglican) are slowly being digitised. Waiting around for these records to arrive online is probably worth it, as Irish parish records are kept usually with the church; sometimes with the local government archive library; and some but not all are available to search on microfilm at the National Archives of Ireland.
Once there are more records online, my next steps would be to find Mary Burke’s baptism record and any possible siblings which may have been born in the same parish. Mary’s baptism record should list her mother’s forename and then allow me to move a step forward and search for a marriage record for Mary Burke’s parents. (updated November 2014)
This ancient and aristocratic English and Norman-Irish surname was first held by Burhred, the king of West Mercia, England, 852 – 874, and several centuries later by the original earls of Ulster and Clanricarde in Ireland. The surname is recorded in the spellings of Burgh, Burk, Burke, and Bourke, and is particularly popular in Ireland, where it has long held great state. The name is topographical, and originates from residence by, or probably the ownership of, a fortress on a hill. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century “burh”, or the Anglo-Saxon “burg”. The villages of Burgh in the county of Suffolk, and Burgh in Lincolnshire, England, are typical examples of the placename, and both provided early surname holders. The surname is distinguished by being amongst the very first ever recorded (see below), and other recordings include Geoffrey de Burk of Herefordshire, in 1272, and Hubert de Burk of Somerset in 1273. The name was introduced into Ireland by William de Burgo, of Burgh in Suffolk, who accompanied Strongbow, the earl of Pembroke, in the Anglo-Norman Invasion of 1169 and 1170. William de Burgo later succeeded him as Chief Governor of Ireland under King Henry II (1154 – 1189), and was rewarded with great estates.
[Copyright belongs to Name Origin Research 1980-2013]