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Bourke Family HistoryThis ancient and aristocratic English and Norman-Irish surname was first held by Burhred, the king of West Mercia, England, 852 - 874, and several centuries later by the original earls of Ulster and Clanricarde in Ireland. The surname is recorded in the spellings of Burgh, Burk, Burke, and Bourke, and is particularly popular in Ireland, where it has long held great state. The name is topographical, and originates from residence by, or probably the ownership of, a fortress on a hill. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "burh", or the Anglo-Saxon "burg".
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