A History of the Burns Family
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Chapter One: The Burns Line

1 - Burns Line
2 - Robert Burns
3 - James, Esquire
4 - John, Senior
5 - John "B"
6 - Scots-Irish Roots

More Information

The Burns family tree can be traced clearly for several generations, from Liberty through Lorenzo to Guy, and from Liberty back to his father Robert and his grandfather James Burns, Esquire.

DNA tests of Guy's son Robert M. Burns, conducted by Family Tree DNA, revealed close genetic matches to other Burns men related to James.

Robert, Guy, Lorenzo, Liberty, and Robert were in fact the sons of their fathers (a distinction not to be taken for granted!).

This lineage, linking Guy to his great-great-grandfather James, is also written in our own family records, hand-tabulated U.S. census records, quaint Pennsylvania county histories, and musty registers kept by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

(1) An affadavit of birth attests that David Argyle Burns is the son of Lorenzo Dow Burns and Mary Rebecca Mason.

(2) The 1860 U.S. census from Rose, Pennsylvania lists Lorenzo as the son of Liberty Burns and his wife Elizabeth. This father-son relationship is amply confirmed in Civil War pension documents received from the National Archives.

Detail from the 1860 U.S. Census, Rose, Pennsylvania

(3) A lineage book of the Daughters of the American Revolution shows that Liberty was the son of Robert Burns and Sarah Turner. Membership in the DAR is dependent on indisputable proof of descent, so we can consider this link solid.

Entry from Volume 47 of a 1918 DAR Lineage Book
showing Liberty as the son of Robert Burns

(4) A 1919 history of Venango County, Pennsylvania records that Robert Burns was the son of a justice of the peace named James Burns (and, on the subsequent page, not shown here, that this Robert was the father of Liberty Burns killed at the Battle of Wilderness).  [1]

Excerpt from Babcock's History of Venango County

Let's start with Robert Burns and Sarah Turner, Liberty's parents.


[1] Venango County, Pennsylvania: Her Pioneers and People, Embracing a General History of the County, and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Representative Families, Volume 2. J. H. Beers, Chicago, 1919, p. 890.