One derivation of the proud name of Burns is from the Old English ‘beorn’, meaning ‘warrior’, while yet another source is from a term indicating ‘bourne’, or ‘stream’.
‘Burns’ and other name variations that include ‘Burnside’ and ‘Burness’ figure prominently in Scotland’s story.
As kinsmen of the clansmen, they fought for the cause of their nation’s freedom, while others gained notoriety as lawless Borders reivers, or raiders.
In more peaceful times, the Burns name has become synonymous with that of the great national bard Robert Burns, born in 1759 in a humble cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire.
From The Cottar’s Saturday Night and Green Grow the Rashes to Tam O’Shanter, his poems and songs cover an entire array of human emotions, and these emotions of love, joy, heartbreak, and despair were ones that the poet himself experienced deeply at various stages throughout his short life.
Chronicled here is the inspiring tale of bearers of the Burns name.
Burns Clan Mini-Book Excerpt
Ambrose Everett Burnside, born in 1824 in Liberty, Indiana, founded the company that produced the famous Burnside breech loading rifle.
As a Union general in the American Civil War, however, he was best known for a luxuriant growth of facial hair that joined his ears to his moustache but left the chin clean-shaven.
These became known as ‘burnsides’, more commonly known today as ‘sideburns’.