In elementary school, David Burrow was once assigned to write a report on his ethnic heritage. After pondering hard, he complained to his teacher that he had none. While other students were Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Swedish-Americans, German-Americans, and Mexican-Americans, Mr. Burrow's family could put no hyphen in their ancestry. His forefathers had been just "Americans" for longer than there had been an America.
Both the Burrow and Miller families have been in America for many generations. The Burrow family first settled in upstate New York (primarily in the Jamestown and Cooperstown areas) and then came to northeast Iowa. The ancestors of the Miller family can be traced back to the Pilgrims (in particular John Alden, Pricilla Mullins, and William Bradford). (Their genealogy is given here.) In summer, 2000, David Burrow was pleased to make a "pilgrimage" to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he saw the graves of some of his ancestors and walked the shores where they first landed in the New World, 380 years earlier.
Recently David's sister Margaret has done extensive research on the family tree. She has found that almost every branch was in America before the United States was a country. The earliest trace of a Burrow ancestor in this country was John Burrow, who was born at Ulster, New York in 1751. An even earlier American ancestor was Abraham Ryken, who was granted a patent for land in the New Amsterdam colony in 1640. Other ancestors were in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania in the late 1600s and early 1700s.
These ancestors came to North America from all over Europe--including England, Wales, Holland, Germany, France, and Switzerland. They include Jesse de Forest, a Belgian Huguenot who planned the founding of New Amsterdam but never made it to the New World. A monument to him presented by the King of Belgium stands in New York's Battery Park. His ancestor (and also Mr. Burrow's ancestor) Louis de Forest, was born in Forest-en-Cambrésis, France in 1379. Another branch of the family tree includes King Henry VIII and his mistress Mary de Berkeley. The king's lineage can easily be traced back four more generations to Isabeau of Bavaria, who was born around 1370. In addition to the Europeans who came to the New World, there is also a small amount of native American (i.e.: Indian) ancestry.
Because of these long Yankee roots, Mr. Burrow still considers himself "American", without any further modification. Having such long roots, he is appalled and offended when people whose families came to this country much more recently speak out against immigration. His Calvinist and Mennonite ancestors were willing to welcome Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews from southern and eastern Europe. It only makes sense that those people's descendents should in turn welcome immigrants of different faiths from all corners of the world. Our country has been a land of diversity and religious freedom throughout our history, and we should continue to nourish that tradition today.
LEFT: Betty Miller (Burrow) at the right of the picture with her sister Alaire, her mother Edna, and her brothers Harvey and Dale
(probably taken near Iowa City)
RIGHT: George Burrow with his father Leo (probably taken at the church in Sumner, Iowa)
(Both photos were taken in the late 1930s.)
Hal, Irma, Glen, Dick, Dell, Esther, Minnie, Enid, Willard, and Bernice Miller - September, 1912
David Burrow looking on behind his grandparents in Frederika, Iowa - 1964
The Burrow side of the family is more reserved than the Millers.
Mr. Burrow's parents, George and Betty Burrow, as well many of his ancestors on the Burrow side
are buried at Wilson Grove Cemetery near Sumner, Iowa.
Links to other sites on the Web
NEXT PAGE (George Burrow)
David Burrow--Descendent of the Mayflower, the Geneaology
Chautauqua County, New York
Native American Resources
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