Burns Family History & Genealogy

90,237 biographies and 143 photos with the Burns last name. Discover the family history, nationality, origin and common names of Burns family members.

Burns Last Name History & Origin

Updated Jul 02, 2022


The surname burns means the hard gang !. In some cases it derived from the Middle English or Scots burn, and originated as a topographic name for an individual who lived by a stream. In other cases the surname is a variant form of the surname Burnhouse, which originated as habitational name, derived from a place name made up of the word elements burn and house.[1] In other cases the surname Burns originated as a nickname meaning "burn house".[2] In other cases, the surname Burns is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Ó Broin,[1] which means "descendant of Bran".[3] In some cases the surname Burns is an Americanized form of the Jewish surname Bernstein,[1] which is derived from the German bernstein ("amber").[4]

An early form of the surname when derived from the place name Burnhouse is "Burnis", recorded in 1526. An early form of the surname when derived from a nickname meaning "burn house" is "Brenhus", recorded in 1286 and 1275.[5]

Name Origin

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Spellings & Pronunciations

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Nationality & Ethnicity


Famous People named Burns

Politics and law
Arnold Burns (1930–2013), American lawyer
Arthur John Burns (1830–1901), early settler of New Zealand and member of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Barnabas Burns (1817–1883), American politician, lawyer, and soldier
Brian D. Burns, (1939–) Vermont politician
Conrad Burns (born 1935), American politician and senator
DeWayne Burns (born 1972), member of the Texas House of Representatives
Edward E. Burns (1858–?), member of the Wisconsin state senate
Ellen Bree Burns (1923–2019), American judge
E.L.M. Burns (1897–1985), Canadian Army officer and diplomat
George Burns (Australian politician) (1869–1932), Australian House of Representatives
Harold Burns (1926–2013), American politician
Joel Burns (politician) (born 1969), American politician, Fort Worth city council member
John Burns (1858–1943), English trade unionist, socialist, and politician
John A. Burns (1909–1975), governor of Hawaii
Lucy Burns (1879–1966), American suffragist and women's rights advocate
Mary Burns (died 1863), labor activist and partner of Friedrich Engels
Michael W. Burns (born 1958), American politician
Mike Burns (politician), American politician
Max Burns (born 1948), American politician and member of U.S. House of Representatives
R. Nicholas Burns (born 1956), U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Simon Burns (born 1952), British politician
Timothy Burns (1820–1853), American politician
Timothy G. Burns (born 1957), American politician
W. Haydon Burns (1912–1987), American politician
William J. Burns (1861–1932), director of the U.S. Bureau of Investigation (precursor to the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
William Joseph Burns (born 1956), United States Deputy Secretary of State
Drama and television
Allan Burns, American television writer and producer
Brooke Burns, American model and actor
Burnie Burns, independent filmmaker, machinimator
Carol Burns, Australian actor
Chris Burns (radio host), radio host in Juneau, Alaska
David Burns (actor), actor and singer
Ed Burns, American television writer
Edward Burns, American actor
Gene Burns (1940– 2013), American radio host
George Burns, American actor and comedian
Glenn Burns, television meteorologist
Gordon Burns, presenter of The Krypton Factor
Jack Burns, American comedian
Jackie Burns, American musical theater actress
Jackson Burns, American actor and stunt coordinator
John Burns (comics), British comic artist
Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker
Marilyn Burns, actress
Michael Burns (actor and historian), American academic
Mickey Burns (TV personality), American interviewer
Nicholas Burns (British actor), British actor
Patrick Burns (paranormal investigator), American paranormal investigator and television presenter
Paul E. Burns, American actor
Ric Burns, documentary filmmaker and writer
Scott Z. Burns, screenwriter, director, and producer
Steve Burns, American children's actor and musician
Literature and journalism
Charles Burns, cartoonist and illustrator
David D. Burns, author
Eric Burns, American media critic and journalist
Gordon Burns, British journalist
James MacGregor Burns, presidential biographer and leadership theorist
Jim Burns (poet) (born 1936), English poet, writer, and poetry magazine editor
John Fisher Burns, British foreign correspondent for The New York Times
John Horne Burns (1916–1953), American novelist
John Burns, children's author and screenplay writer
Laura J. Burns, author
Nellie Marie Burns (ca. 1850 – 1897), American actor and poet
Robert Burns, pioneer of the Romantic movement and Scotland's national poet
Robert Elliott Burns, Georgia chain gang fugitive and author
Burns (DJ), a British DJ and producer
The Burns Sisters, Annie, Marie and Jeannie Burns, American folk music group
Cha Burns (1957–2007), guitarist for the Scottish rock band The Silencers
Christian Burns (born 1974), British musician
John 'Jake' Burns (born 1958), Irish singer, guitarist and musician
John Burns (1858–1943), songwriter
Kyle Burns, American drummer for artist 'Forever the Sickest Kids'
Megan Burns (born 1986), musician and actor; also known as "Betty Curse"
Pauline Powell Burns (1872–1912), African-American pianist and artist
Pete Burns (1959–2016), singer and songwriter for the new wave band Dead or Alive
Rob Burns (born 1953), British–New Zealand bass player, author and academic
Roy Burns (drummer) (born 1935), American drummer, educator, and percussion manufacturer
Albert Garrette Burns, inventor
Allan Burns (surgeon) (1781–1813)
Arthur F. Burns (1904–1987), Galician-born American economist and chairman of the Federal Reserve
John Burns (surgeon) (1775–1850)
Joseph A. Burns, American astronomer
Marvin Ray Burns, mathematician
Stephanie Burns (born 1955), American organosilicon chemist
Richard Burns (born 1991), Geologist
Alayna Burns (born 1980), Australian cyclist
Art Burns, American discus thrower
Brent Burns, Canadian hockey player
Brian Burns (American football), American football player
Britt Burns, American baseball pitcher
Freddie Burns, English rugby player
George Burns (first baseman), American baseball player
George Burns (outfielder), American baseball player
George Burns (rower), New Zealand rower
Ian Burns, English snooker player
Jerry Burns, US football coach
Joe Burns, American football player
Kenny Burns, Scottish footballer
Kevin Burns, American mixed martial artist
Liam Burns (born 1978) Northern Irish former professional footballer
Marc Burns, Trinidad and Tobago athlete
Marge Burns, American professional golfer
Micky Burns, English footballer
Mike Burns, U.S. soccer player
Nathan Burns, Australian footballer
Pat Burns, hockey coach
Richard Burns, English rally driver
Rory Burns, English cricketer
Roy Burns (footballer), English footballer
Shernyl Burns, Montserratian athlete and cricketer
Tommy Burns (boxer), Boxer, world heavyweight champion
Tommy Burns (Australian boxer), welterweight champion of Australia
Tommy Burns (footballer), soccer player
Alan Burns, 4th Baron Inverclyde (1897–1957)
Anthony Burns, fugitive slave
Barnet Burns, New Zealand showman
Beverly Burns, American aviator
Brian P. Burns, Irish-American businessman and art collector
Ed "Big Ed" Burns, 19th century American con man
George Burns (shipping magnate), Scottish shipping magnate
George Burns, 2nd Baron Inverclyde (1861–1905), owner of a Scottish shipping company
James Burns, director of the Power Corporation of Canada
Sir James Burns (shipowner), Scottish/Australian businessman, ship owner, and philanthropist
James Burns, 3rd Baron Inverclyde (1864–1919), founder of the Cunard Line
Rev. Dr. John Burns D.D. (1744–1839), minister in the Church of Scotland
John Burns, 1st Baron Inverclyde (1829–1901), ship owner
John L. Burns, civilian who took up arms during the Battle of Gettysburg
John M. Burns (sailor), American Civil War sailor and Medal of Honor recipient
Sir Joseph Burns (1871–1950), chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company
Lawton Burns, American business theorist
Leopoldina Burns, American religious sister and missionary
Louis F. Burns, American historian of the Osage Nation
Mark Burns (televangelist), Televangelist
Mary Burns (soldier), soldier in the American Civil War
Otway Burns, American privateer, War of 1812
Patrick Burns, Canadian rancher, businessman, senator, and philanthropist
Red Burns (1925–2013), Canadian-born American academic
Sebastian Burns (born 1975), Canadian convicted murderer
Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corporation
William Wallace Burns, American Civil War major general
Fictional characters
Charles Montgomery Burns, a character in the television series The Simpsons
Larry Burns, his son, featured in the episode "Burns, Baby Burns"
Eunice Burns, a character in the film What's Up, Doc?
Frank Burns, a character in the film and television series M*A*S*H
Harry Burns, a character in the film When Harry Met Sally...
Sir Isambard Burns, a character in Raymond Postgate's novel Verdict of Twelve
Nick Burns, a character in a recurring Saturday Night Live skit
Peter Burns, a character in the television series Melrose Place
People with the first, middle, or maiden name Burns
Isaac Burns Murphy, African-American thoroughbred jockey
Emily Burns Robison, musician, member of American country band the Dixie Chicks
Burn Gorman, British actor
Lurleen Burns Wallace, former Governor of Alabama
William Burns Smith, former Mayor of Philadelphia

Early Burnses

These are the earliest records we have of the Burns family.

Burns Family Members

Surnames: Burnite - Burnson

Burns Family Tree

Discover the most common names, oldest records and life expectancy of people with the last name Burns.

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Most Common First Names

  • John 5.0%
  • James 3.9%
  • Robert 3.6%
  • William 3.6%
  • Mary 3.0%
  • Thomas 2.3%
  • Charles 1.4%
  • Edward 1.3%
  • George 1.2%
  • Joseph 1.2%
  • Margaret 1.2%
  • Michael 1.0%
  • Patrick 0.8%
  • Elizabeth 0.8%
  • Richard 0.7%
  • Burns 0.7%
  • Helen 0.7%
  • David 0.7%
  • Frank 0.6%
  • Catherine 0.6%

Sample of 17 Burns Biographies

Burns Death Records & Life Expectancy

The average age of a Burns family member is 68.7 years old according to our database of 73,018 people with the last name Burns that have a birth and death date listed.


Other Burns Records


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Sammy Boyd commented on Mar 20, 2013
This appears to be two brothers: L to R: Eugene, born circa 1920; Leslie, born circa 1918. Photo taken in 1934. This picture was found among Skillern, Flippo, and Dunn families in Florida, Georgia or Tennessee. Keywords: William Anderson Skillern and wife, Mary Lula "Lou" (Burns) Skillern. Do you know who these boys are? Please contact me here, or at SammyAndLucy (at) ..........Thanks!
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