The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

A Magnificent Advenrure!

My research into the Burgum family history takes place on a number of levels. First of all I search out the people, their births, their marriages and their deaths. The next step is to try and uncover information about those people. Where did they live ? What did they do for a living ? Can we uncover anything interesting that happened to them during their lives ? Yet another step is to study the history of the area where these families lived. Only then can you begin to imagine what life must have been like for our ancestors. Some were poor and had little control over their lives; they struggled to exist. Others took major decisions that changed their lives (and yours!) forever.

Examples ? What drove A.T. Burgum (FF family tree) to leave the Forest of Dean with his family and go to the "New World"? A.T did not want his children to go into the coal-mines. Across the ocean he saw opportunity and promise, like so many others from all over Europe. Henry Burgum, my Great-great-grandfather, went to Brazil with two of his brothers, John and Samuel (AA family tree). As engineers, they were involved in the project to supply drinking water and sanitation to the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Campos. I assume Henry and his brothers were working for a British Company who were contracted to do the work. However one of the brothers, John Burgum, decided to stay in Brazil. Henry, on the other hand, decided to come back to England. On that decision is based my very existence!

John Burgum, the apprentice clock-face painter (JJ family tree) went to Boston seeking his fortune. Behind him, he left his family and his friends. John was fortunate. He was able to re-visit England twenty years later and see his parents again. He also visited some of my Burgum ancestors, although I have not yet established where the two families are related. Timothy Burgum (RR family tree) went to Australia to find his opportunity. His family had heard much about this new land. They, of course, settled at Maleny in Queensland. Thomas Ebenezer Burgum (AA family tree) also went to Queensland, Australia; (Rockhampton). After loosing his house in floods, then being injured on the railway, Thomas took his family to a socialist religious order in Paraguay ! This did not fulfil the family's expectations and the family returned to England where Thomas Ebenezer Burgum's descendants now live.

Many more Burgums, of course, remained in England and Wales, although many moved away from the Forest of Dean. The Thomas Burgum who married Elizabeth Merrells (NN, now FF family tree) moved away to Kent. My family (AA family tree) went first to Bolton, Lancashire, then to London. Others went to Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, the North-East and into Wales. So what prompted such a massive migration of the Burgum family ? Is there a bit of gypsy blood ? Was this normal ? The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw one of the greatest revolutions of all time - the industrial revolution ! While we wonder at the miracles of the twentieth century (automobiles, aeroplanes, computers and television), these barely compare with the dramatic changes that went on before.

It began slowly, as the feudal system gradually broke down. People began to live in communities. Villages became towns. Towns grew into cities. Populations began to increase, despite the disease that came with urban living. Farming efficiencies became necessary. Science became fashionable to the fortunate and wealthy. So, in Britain, began the revolution that was to change the world. The steam engine; the spinning jenny; the railway. Britain had the raw materials such as coal and iron. Britain's influence around the world, developed since Elizabethan times, grew to become the mighty British Empire. As industries grew, so the railways grew. Large numbers of the population moved away from their rural farming communities. Many moved with the railways to the cities seeking jobs and prosperity. Travel not only became easier; crucially it became cheaper.

Contrary to popular belief, movement of individuals had always been greater than we had imagined. However, now there was the promise of work and wages. Sometimes when that promise was not fulfilled, individuals moved on. Many of my ancestors in the Forest of Dean had been Forgemen, working at the furnaces and ironworks in the Forest of Dean. Despite the resources of coal and iron, the Forest area was slow to keep up with the rapid developments of its industry. In some other areas, such as the Black Country (the West Midlands of England) and South Wales benefited from a superior infrastructure of railways, canals, population and investment. As these areas grew, the industries of the Forest of Dean slowly declined.

The migration of our ancestors began early on. My Great-great-great-great-great-Grandfather, John Burgum, moved to Wick, near Bristol, to work at an Ironworks there in the 1770's. His son, Henry Burgum, moved to Bolton in about 1820. His son, also Henry, married back in Bristol but went to West Ham, in East London. Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution spread throughout Europe and around the world. Some of the Burgums remained on the Farms around the Forest, or worked in the industries of the Forest, until much later in the nineteenth century. However, with the promise of a new life beyond these shores in places such as America, Australia and South Africa, our global family spread its wings. What a magnificent adventure it must have been to move to another part of the country with your family, seeking work or changing jobs or, still more, to board a ship for some far off country. Your ancestors did that !