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Are Burnetts Highlander?

Blake Burnett of Campbellford, Canada writes wondering how he would find out from of which section of the Burnett family he is a descendent.  Also he wonders if the Burnett family was or was not considered as Highlanders. He noticed on the website “Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys decided that the Burnetts should be considered Highlanders.”  We have yet to conclude our correspondence on genealogy. However. the information is probably misleading and I am grateful to Blake Burnett for drawing this to my attention.


My opinion would be that the Burnetts would not be classified as Highlanders the reason being that the stronghold of the family, when they first located in the north-east was not in what was regarded as “the Highlands”. The definition of a Highlander is someone who originates from the Highlands of Scotland and, of course, as we have shown the Burnards/Burnets/Burnetts were immigrants into southern England and were later given lands in the Borders of Scotland before Alexander Burnett received lands in the north-east. The Burnetts have been a prominent family in Scotland for many centuries but I think Sir Thomas was incorrect in describing them as Highlanders. Maybe he was a bit carried away but by suggesting that he considered us to be Highlanders could be argued that it is because it was also considered that we weren’t!


James C. A Burnett of Leys