Burright Family Research – Where To Get Started
If the Burright family is one of the branches of a family tree you’re currently researching there are a number of specific online and traditional book resources that you’ll find very helpful. So, once you’ve gathered all you can from your relations and maybe started trawling the censuses on sites like Ancestry.com, check out these resources to confirm what you already have, and add color to your Burright family research.
1. The Sun Rides High
Perhaps the best and most obvious place to start is with the book that inspired the name of this website – The Sun Rides High. Compiled and published by Ora Burright, it chronicles the stories that Orrin Burright, her father, told her and her sisters about the family’s migration from New York state to Oklahoma prior to the land-run.
Covering a period between 1833 and the 1890s, The Sun Rides High focuses primarily on the stories of Warren Burright’s family as they settle in Illinois, endure the American Civil War, then continue on to Oklahoma to participate in the Oklahoma Land Run. It also gives a little detail about Orrin Burright’s mother, Sarah Shreeve, and her childhood in England. It is a fascinating book full of interesting anecdotes about the Burright family. While the book is a little dry to read, Ora does a great job of filling out the family detail with historical context.
As a genealogical resource, The Sun Rides High definitely has value, it will give you names, places, and events to flesh out your Burright family research, but be warned, for all its value it also has some incorrect and misleading information. Maybe the biggest error in the book is that Orin believed that Warren Burright was held prisoner at Andersonville during the civil war, but more recent research by Peter Wilson shows that Warren and his comrades were held at Macon prisoner of war camp. As you delve into The Sun Rides High remember that it was published in the 1970’s and is largely based on the distant memories of Orrin Burright. Check the facts against other resources and always be clear where your research came from when you share it.
Bonus tip! As I get time I will share more information about The Sun Rides High and where the detail is more fanciful than accurate. If that is useful to you be sure to subscribe to this blog.
2. David Burright Family Research
When I first started researching the Burright’s sometime during the mid-2000s I came across a set of web pages compiled by a David Burright. These included family trees of the Burright’s and the Shreeve’s (Sarah Shreeve married Warren Burright).
I found this research really helpful for filling gaps and confirming some of the detail I already had. You should always cross-check research you find with other resources but so far I found David’s research to be well researched and accurate. Unfortunately, by the time I found these pages David had already passed away, so I never had the opportunity to connect with him, but thanks to the longevity of the internet you can still find his research on the Burrights and the Shreeves although the site is no longer linking properly.
3. Burright Family Research Using Google Books
A general search in Google Books will find many references to the Burright’s, including references to nutrition papers written by Ora Burright, but perhaps of most interest are the county histories.
In the 1800s it was popular for entrepreneurs to compile histories of towns and counties and have people and businesses pay to be mentioned in the book. While this gives these histories a certain bias they still provide clues to your ancestors and their lives. They also give your family more context, with richer stories and anecdotes than you will find in census and BMD records. Here are a few useful references, although further research and a willingness to read carefully through some of these books will reveal more information.
The History of Ogle County
- Mention of Asabel Burright hiring a teacher for the school in Chana, Illinois. Most likely this is the schoolhouse mentioned in The Sun Rides High, where two young Burright children died.
- A roster of Infantry Men who fought in the civil war including a John Burright and Warren Burright.
- A reference to Milton Burright settling in Pine Rock before 1841.
The Biographical Record of Ogle County
- A biography of Milton Burright, including references to other family members.
4. Soldier Life – Many Must Fall
As I mentioned earlier, The Sun Rides High devotes significant time to Warren Burright’s service during the American Civil War. At the time of writing it was thought that he was held prisoner in the notorious Andersonville Camp but as it, turns out, more recent research shows that his captivity was in Macon prisoner-of-war camp. In his book, Soldier Life – Many Must Fall, Peter Wilson gives a detailed account of the 14th Iowa Infantry regiments involvement in the civil war. Burright’s are mentioned several times, and again, this narration gives more context to Warren Burright’s experiences.
The Burright’s are a storied American family. There’s a lot of information out there in both online and hardcopy format to be discovered. As I continue my Burright family research I’ll curate as much as I can about this line of our family tree, let me know if you know of other resources I have missed. And don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest news from the site.