Thursday, May 12, 2016

Some Notes on Early Burnights from New Jersey

I continue to be stumped by the origins of my 5th great grandfather, Jeremiah Burnight (1779-1839).  The family story has been that he immigrated from the "highlands of Scotland" about 1799/1800, arrived first in New Jersey, and then went across the Delaware River to Delaware/Chester County, Pennsylvania.

I have not found any immigration/naturalization record for Jeremiah in the time and place he was supposed to have arrived in the United States.  The place in the federal censuses (1820: "Foreigners not naturalized", and 1830: "ALIENS—Foreigners not naturalized"), were left blank, indicating that he had either naturalized or simply wasn't foreign-born in the first place.

Only one of his children, Fletcher Burnight (1820-1906), can be traced to the 1880 Census, where parent's origins are first answered, and he had his father Jeremiah from New Jersey.

And then, I find a number of Burnight's on Ancestry in Cumberland County, New Jersey, at least as early as 1793:

There is a Lewis Worrell in the 1793 tax list for Maurice River.  I don't know who this is, but I do know that Jeremiah married Phoebe Worrall from Chester/Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  Is Lewis related to Phoebe, and maybe this is how she met Jeremiah?  There are more questions than answers.

There is a Joseph Burnight who had an inventory taken about 1826 in Cumberland County, so this could be the same man as above.  Furthermore, I find a John Burnight who has Joseph Burnight as father:

John Burnight, laborer, (b abt 1811-18 Jan 1857), abt 46
born in Cumberland County, New Jersey
died in Millville, Cumberland, New Jersey
father: Joseph Burnight
mother: Rachel Burnight

It is possible that this Joseph Burnight is the same person as Joseph*Burr, taxed in 1781 in the same place, pushing back the possible Burnight inhabitation in the area even earlier:
Name: Joseph* Burr
State: NJ
County: Cumberland County
Township: Maurice River Township
Year: 1781
Record Type: January Tax List August Tax List
Page: 003
Database: NJ Tax Lists Index 1772-1822

I also find a Peter, Jas (James?), and Wm (William) Burnight who were born in the late 1700's/early 1800's and who died in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and are possibly related to the above-mentioned men.

Peter Burnight (b abt 1792-22 Jun 1871), abt 79
born in Cumberland County, New Jersey
died in Hopewell Township, Cumberland, New Jersey
Jas. Burnight, laborer, (b abt 1796-25 Dec 1879), about 83
born in New Jersey
died in Towne [Downe Township], Cumberland, New Jersey
parents born in the US
Wm. Burnight, widowed, (b abt 1816-8 Oct 1893), about 77
born in the United States
died in Lawrence Township, Cumberland, New Jersey
parents born in the United States

A number of people descend from these Burnight lines, as evidenced a look around Ancestry trees.   Unfortunately, none of those trees provide any more leads, beside an alternative spelling, "Burneitt".  It's not clear to me that any of the owners of these trees have done their DNA tests.

I feel like the evidence is leading to Jeremiah Burnight being from New Jersey, or possibly was born in Scotland and immigrated at an early age to the United States.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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