Sounds of Scotland

Burnett of Monboddo

Burnett of Monboddo crest

It is believed that our Burnett ancestors arrived in Britain from continental Europe sometime between the third and fifth century. They may have been Angle, Dane, Frisian, Norman, Roman, Saxon, Viking or a mixture of any of these. The most accepted theory is toward Saxon or Norman descent but this has never been proven conclusively.
The Burnett family group with which I identify, moved from England to what is now Scotland in the early part of the 1300's, aligning themselves with Robert Bruce against England. With victory, the Burnetts were given lands and titles for their allegiance and service.

The main branches of the family were Burnett of Barns (south) and Burnett of Leys (northeast).

There are many sub branches within the Scottish Burnetts such as Burnett of Monboddo to which I am connected. My ancestors were located in the areas of Arbroath, Auchenblae, Brechin, Ferryden, Fettercairn, Fordoun, Montrose and other locales in Kincardineshire, (Angus) Scotland.

Family history.

The name Monboddo is open to interpretation. However,  as far as I can ascertain it means "Old man of the bog".

My Monboddo descendant line is a direct spin off the Burnett of Leys line via the marriage of Alexander Burnett of Leys and Katherine Gordon. (ca 1578.) Via their son James Burnett of Craigmyle and eventually his son James Burnett who took the Monboddo title and formed the Monboddo line.
Although many of the Burnett Monboddians were to become Lawyers, Politicians, Educators, Religious leaders, etc.,  for the most part my ancestors were farmers/crofters and the rest were linked to the sea, as sailors, fishers, boat builders, ferry operators and lighthouse keepers.

My GGGgrandfather was John Burnett (b. ca 1794 Fettercairn district) married Isabella Duncan at Fordoun on 17 May 1818. There was 5 children born to them. Their eldest son William became my GGgrandfather.

They farmed during their life together at  Coldcoats, Coullie, Craigmosten, Stanneryhaugh and West Town,. They were living at Marykirk at the time of their deaths.

My GGrandfather William (b 1828) farmed with his Father for a time. He eventually headed for the east coast where he married  Ann Young at Craig (Montrose) in 1853. They had 7 children with their son Alexander becoming my Grandfather.
GGgrandad William became a Millwright and had his own business. Both he and my GGrandmother died at Ferryden.

Shown in picture left to right sitting. William Burnett Sr., William Burnett Jr., David Young Burnett and Ann (Young) Burnett.
Standing left to right. James Burnett, Mary Duncan Burnett, John Burnett, Alexander Burnett and Margaret Burnett.

My Grandfather Alexander (b 1858) married Isobel Coull at Craig in 1882. My Grandfather joined the Northern Lighthouse Service and served at 10 different locations around Scotland until his retirement. My Father Joseph was born at Bressay, Shetlands while they were living and tending the Bressay Light House. They had a total of 10 children.

Seated left to right. Isobel Burnett (Coull), Christina Petrie Burnett, Alexander Burnett Sr .
Standing left to right, Joseph Coull Burnett, Ann Young Burnett, Elsie Watt Burnett, Isobel Burnett and James Burnett.  (Not shown are Alexander Burnett #1 died 1895 (age 10). Alexander Burnett #2 or Walter Baden Powell Burnett neither of whom had been born at the time of the photograph.

Alexander Burnett and Isobel Burnett (Coull) are shown above on the occasion of my Grandfather's retirement from the Northern Lighthouse Service. His service was from 13 March 1885 until September 1, 1921.

Lighthouse locations were, Inchkeith, Isle of May, Bressay, Bell Rock, Chanonry Point, Langness, Stroma, Tuimpanhead,, Monach and Clythness.

My Father Joseph Coull Burnett (b 1893)  had emigrated to Canada prior to the first world war. Upon declaration of war he joined the Canadian expeditionary force and came to England prior to going to France. While in England he met and married Fanny Humphrey in London, England in 1918.

They returned to Canada after the war where they stayed. They had 5 children. With me, David being the youngest.


Joseph Coull Burnett  and Fanny Burnett (Humphrey) are shown below. My Mother is holding my eldest Sister Kitty.

Dadfamily pic  

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