The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

The Most Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions about the BURGUM family and the BURGUM FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY. They appear in no particular order and there may well be other questions that require answers. If so, why not contact me?

  1. Does the name BURGUM actually mean anything?
  2. Where do the BURGUMS come from?
  3. How far back have you got in your researches?
  4. Who was the earliest Burgum in the USA?
  5. Are all the Burgums related?
  6. How do the family tree codes work?
  7. What is the most common christian name?
  8. What was the most common occupation?
  9. Do we have a Coat of Arms?

Does the name BURGUM actually mean anything?top

BURGUM is listed in the book "Surnames of the U.K." by William Harrison (published by Eaton Press in 1912). It states... "BURGUM, BURGHAM (Eng): Belonging to Burgham = the field or enclosure of the stronghold (Old English - Burg, a stronghold; and ham - an enclosure, a piece of land)." More on the possible origins of the name Burgum.

Where do the BURGUMS come from?top

Many have speculated that the name BURGUM sounds foreign. My own family have told me that the Burgums were originally Norwegians. Others have insisted that we were German, French, and Dutch. There is very little evidence of this although I do not, of course, reject the possibility out of hand. Burgums were certainly in England in the 1580's (when parish registers began). There are some foreign references to BURGUM and I am investigating these. However, it seems more likely that the foreign influence on the name BURGUM (and BURGHAM) is consistant with the foreign influence on language, rather than by direct imigration from abroad. More on the possible origins of the name Burgum.

How far back have you got in your researches?top

The earliest set of records in my possession are those of Linton, a village close to Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, a few miles north of the Forest of Dean, in England. There are considerable difficulties with records of this age. They are in Latin, hand-written, often faded and frequently mis-spelt. Bearing that in mind, the earliest record shows Margaret Berhume, daughter of Paul, baptised November 13th 1580. The name appears to vary from Bergoe, Burgo and Bergome. The first accurate spelling of BURGUM at Linton is in 1637. We cannot reject these earlier spellings, however. William and Katherin (sic) married as Bergom (1631), baptised Magaret as Bergo (1632), John as Birgum (1640) and Ann as Bergum (1643). Burgham became the most common mis-spelling of BURGUM and a number of BURGHAM families continue to this day.

Who was the earliest Burgum in the USA?top

The earliest BURGUM (so far!) recorded in the USA was John Burgum who, on June 19th 1773, married Mary Bartholomew. They were married at Christ Church, Philadelphia, just three short years before the American Declaration of Independence. At about that time pews at Christ Church were occupied by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and many others prominent in the birth of the United States of America. (Christ Church was designated a National Shrine by Act of Congress in 1950). John and Mary were witness to a remarkable time in American history.

Are all the Burgums related?top

This is a difficult one! BURGUM is a very rare name, yet there are Burgums all over England (and Wales) and all over the world. I have only succeeded in breaking through the "1800" barrier in three of the associated family trees. The "AA" family tree is predominately based in the UK. The "FF" family tree is mainly based in the USA, while the "RR" family tree is mainly based in Australia. However they all originate in the Forest of Dean in the Forest of Dean in the 16-1700's. Indeed, these families can be placed within about two miles of each other at one time. The "GG" family tree also originates in the Forest. Further clues point to links between other BURGUM family trees, but I am still searching for that conclusive proof.

How do the family tree codes work?top

Membership codes of the BURGUM FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY comprise two letters and a number. Iris Rider has membership code AA098. That is to say she belongs to the "AA" family tree and she is our 98th member. If someone has the same letter code as you, you are definitely related. AA is my own family tree and includes Burgums living in Essex, Kent, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Sussex. We are also related to Burgums living in Brazil. BB includes families in London, Essex, Dorset and Australia. The DD family mainly lives in the Livepool area, with others in South Wales, Kent, South Africa and Canada. EE families mostly live in Manchester. The FF families mostly live in South Wales, while HH are associated with Bolton (Lancashire), and Australia. JJ is an American family (East Coast), NN comes from Kent and OO live in Tyneside. PP are mostly from Bolton, while QQ come from Birmingham and the USA. RR all live in Australia and TT all live in the USA. (Clues suggest that BB, JJ, QQ are connected as I can place the families within half a mile of each other in the middle of the last century. I am searching for confirmation). Similar clues exist for the other family groups and it is my contention that we are all related. All I need to do now is prove it!

What is the most common christian name?top

The most common male christian name amongst the Burgums is William. Thomas, John, George and Henry come next. The most common female name, by the way, is Elizabeth. Mary and Sarah were also quite popular. The most unusual? Probably Dorcas (RR 1856-1934); she was a Forest of Dean school teacher.

What was the most common occupation?top

This is a trick question! In these more enlightened times I have to say the most common job was "wife". The task of wife and mother (always a tough job) was generally left unsung. Amongst the men, easily the most common occupation was Forgeman.

Do we have a Coat of Arms?top

I can find no evidence of a genuine Coat of Arms existing for the Burgum family. (If anyone believes differently, I need to know the actual source of your information). Henry Burgum, the pewterer, (1739-1789) was sold a fake pedigree and coat of arms by Thomas Chatterton, the famous Bristol poet. However, Henry took the De Burgham Pedigree to the College of Heralds and, as one book put it, "to his lasting and bitter mortification.... he was told it was a fabrication from beginning to end." For more information about Henry Burgum and the fake pedigree, click on Henry Burgum (1739-1789).