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Burch Genealogy and Burch Family History Information

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About the Burch surname

Meaning & Spelling

The surname "Burch" (or "Birch") means someone who lives in a birch forest or near a birch tree. (Burch is the southern-England spelling, whereas Birch is the northern-England spelling). The plural of Burch is Burches.

Schiff-Burch

It came to be my family's surname in the following way: Carl Gottlieb Samuele Schiff (1838-1905) married Mary Ballard Burch (1861-1922) in the USA, and changed their surname to Schiff-Burch. Around the time of the First World War, German-sounding names were unpopular (though the Schiffs were actually of Austrian descent), so the Schiff family changed their name to Burch-Schiff (e.g. Carl Schiff's son, Charles Burch Schiff (1885-1962)), and then finally dropped Schiff entirely to become the Burch family (e.g. Charles Burch Schiff's son & my paternal Grandfather, Martin Noel William Burch (1917-1978) who's family moved to England when he was very young).

Historical Burches

John Christopher Burch (who died 1881, father to Mary Ballard Burch who married into the Schiffs - see above) was Secretary to the US Senate, and the first person from a confederate state to hold this office after the Civil War. His portrait, along with those of the other holders of this office, hangs on the current Secretary's wall. And also on my parent's wall; my father is also called John Christopher Burch, though he goes by the name Chris.