Virginia Beginnings

Virginia Beginnings

This is an attempt to document the history of the Burt family in the Southeastern United States. At this time, our efforts have primarily centered around the genealogy of two distinct Burt families: one initially located in York Co., Virginia, and another in neighboring Gloucester Co., Virginia.

Despite some attempts [1] to link the Burts (of Gloucester Co., Virginia) to those carrying that surname in early New England, we believe that most, if not all, southeastern Burts originated from Virginia, coming there directly from the British Isles. If there is a connection with the Burts in New England, it is probably to be found in England.

The surname Burt is found in Virginia at a very early date. The first permanent English settlement in the New World was located at Jamestown in 1607, and it was not until about 1620 that its sucess was certain. The following Burts were found there during this early time period:

Several other Burts arrived in Virginia during the rest of the 17th century; see the Early Virginia Timeline for details.

Richard Burt

Although nothing is known of his orgin, one early Virginia resident of great interest to us is Richard Burt:

Warwick River Co.
Richard Burte was named a "Viewer of Tobacco Crop" for the parish of Mulberry Island of Keths Creek. [3, p.120]

Charles River Co. [now Gloucester Co.]
Nicholas Stillwell received a land patent "on Frostbury Creek, a branch of Severne River, near Richard Burtes land, 2 acres of which is allowed for a path." [4, p. 135]

Charles River Co.
Francis Willis received a land patent "towards head of the Eastermost branch of Severne River at point where that branch divides itself into two branches and measuring from the point unto marked trees that divides this from land of Richard Burt." [4, p. 188]

Gloucester Co.
Robert Coleman obtained a land patent "on main branches of Burts Creek adjoining his own land and Daniel Clark and Richard Foster." [5]

The name Richard Burt has been prominent in both the York Co. and Gloucester Co. branches of the Burt family (one, Richard Burt "the elder", was born about 1665 in York Co.), and it is quite possible that both families have a common ancestor in this early Richard Burt. It is our hope that further research will uncover the relationship between our families and the early Burts of the Jamestown area.


  1. In Daniel Grant Owen: His Ancestors, Descendants and Their Kin by Frances Benson Chandler, 1968, are the following remarks:
    "In the notes sent to me by Mrs. D. F. Martin of Hinesville, GA, the following line for Joseph's ancestors is given: 'Joseph Burt (1731-1788) b. in Abington Parish, Gloucester Co., VA, may have been the son of John (b. 1687) and Grace ____ Burt; the grandson of John (b. 1658) and Sarah Day (dau. of Thomas and Sarah Cooper Day) Burt; great grandson of Deacon Jonathon (bapt. 1624/5-1715) and Elizabeth Lobdel (b. 1648) Burt; great-great grandson of Henry and Ulalia Marche Burt, who settled in Springfield, Mass. in 1640. It is claimed that the Christian names, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, Nathanial, Joseph, John and Rebecca, were used in sucessive generations, as given in 'Genealogical Records of Henry and Ulalia Burt', by R. H. Durnham. The fact that the unusual name, Ulalia, has been used in the Burt families of Georgia for generations is more to the point, since the other names are found in many families. An E has been added to make Ulalia 'Eulalia' now.

    Another suggested line of ancestors for Joseph goes back to Massachusetts also, but to a different place-- Taunton instead of Springfield: 'Richard Burt is recorded as a 'First Settler' in 1639. His son Richard, married Charity ___ (names in his will proven 1685) along with his children: Abel, Richard, Joseph, Ebenezer, Ephraim, Mary and Abagail Burt. Joseph was born May 15, 1666, and when about twenty nine years old settled in Virginia, where his son Joseph II was born (from notes of Mrs. Nellie Burt Smith, Orlando, FL)."

  2. Records of Colonial Gloucester Co., Vol. 1
  3. Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol, 5 1897-98
  4. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666, Vol. 1 by Nell Nugent.
  5. Original Lists of Persons of Quality, 1600-1700 by James Camden Hotten.
  6. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
  7. Adventures of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1625 by Annie Lash Jester, 1956.

This page last updated on: 25 June 1997

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