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Several of the ancestors listed in Eileen Bailey’s document below have been identified as the ancestors of members of the Burnett Project.  If you’d like to know if you descend from one of these identified families, you can find more information on the webpage:

James Burnett


By Eileen Bailey

In the course of family research, various sources have shown that, over time, many people bearing the surname Burnet or Burnett, particularly from Scotland, have left their homeland  to live in other countries of the world. Not all can be proven to be linked to the main family lines of Burnett  of Leys in Aberdeenshire and Burnet of Barns  in Peebleshire but all emigrants had a  reason for leaving their homeland.

There was a significant exodus in the 1700s, mainly of persons who were making an extremely low income from farming rented land. In the 1770s, prolonged severe weather caused failure of crops leading to famine added to which many landowners increased the annual rents of their land at that time. In later years, there were numerous opportunities for families to seek to achieve a better and more satisfying quality of life in lands such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand often in response to active recruitment of skilled labour.

Others over the centuries have been inspired by  by those whose adventurous spirit and natural curiosity led them to seek out and explore distant areas of the world many of which proved to hold resources with great trading potential. Persons whose family backgrounds gave them access to financial support were able to create trading companies owning fleets of ships which plied between Scotland and countries to which they could take produce from their home areas and return with valuable and much sought after items. In the 1600s there were several members of the Burnett of Leys family who were well established and much respected merchants in this exchange and who broadened their enterprise in the direction of, for example, America and were later involved with the East India Company.


BURNETT – George Born 20.07.1689 in Leith, Scot. Parents George Burnett & Catherine Donald. Died in1761 in Halifax VA.

BURNETT – Thomas    Born in 1612 in Essex, Eng. Parents Thomas Burnett and Jane Foys. Emigrated 1643 to Long  Island NY. Died in 1684 in Queens NY.

BURNETT – William     Born 03. 1687 in The Hague, Holland. Parents Gilbert Burnett and Mary Scott. Emigrated to  New York .

BURNETT – Arthur       Born in 1885. Died 2. 04. 1895 in Portland.

BURNETT – George      Born 22.11. 1831 in Edinburgh, Scot. Parents George Burnett and Jean Henderson. Emigrated  before 1850 to New York. Died in 1898 in Manhattan.

BURNETT – William Van Dawson       Born in 1846 in France. Father David R. Burnett.  Emigrated to ?Utah.

BURNETT – David Robertson              Born in 1814 in Arbroath, Scot. Father Alexander Wear Burnett. Died in 1894.

BURNETT – Thomas     Born in 1794 in Ettrick, Scot. Emigrated in May 1854. Died in 1894.

BURNETT – Robert       Born in 1697 in Cheshire. Eng. Emigrated in 1723. Died in 1790 in Warwick MA.



BURNETT – William         Born 19.11.1823 in Banff,Scot. Parents James Burnett and Jane Baikie. Emigrated to Victoria,  Died 1893 in Illabrook.

BURNETT – John            Parents John Burnett and Sarah Ann Jennings. Died 19.06. 1894 in Queensland.

BURNETT – James Charles          Born in 1815 in Leith. Scot. Parents William Burnett and Marjorie C. Brown.   Emigrated in 1829 to Sydney. Died 1854 in Kangaroo Point. Brisbane.

BURNET – Lewis             Born in 1845 in Harrington.Eng.  Parents Joseph Burnet and Mary Lewis. Emigrated in 1867.

BURNETT – James          Born in 1742. Emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania.

BURNETT – David Dingwall        Born 21.03.1886 in Aberdeen. Scot. Parents David Burnett and isabella Dingwall. Died   1964 in Sydney.


BURNETT – John           Born in Banchory.Scot. Emigrated after 1870 to Christchurch.

BURNETT – Andrew      Born 06.04.1838 in Sutherland.Scot. Parents Andrew Burnett and Mary McDonald. Emigrated on board the “Royal Stuart” arriving Lyttleton on 08.10.1863. Settled Mount Cook Station.

BURNETT – Kenneth     Born 21.09.1855 in Dores.Scot. Parents James Burnett and Jane McKenzie. Emigrated in 1882  on the “Wellington” to Port Chalmers. Died in 1925 in Hamilton.

BURNETT – Agnes Martha         From Kent. Eng.  Father Richard Burnett. Emigrated in 1840s(Wakefield Scheme)