William Burke
Burke-William 1895 01gif
Sex: Male
Birth: March 19, 1841 (1841-03-19) (177 years ago)
County Sligo, Ireland
Baptism: Roman Catholic
Death: July 29, 1919 (age 78)
99 years ago
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Burial: Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
Yeadon, Pennsylvania
Father: John Burke (c1820-?)
Mother: Mary X (c1820-?)
Spouse/Partner: Margaret Kane (1846-1912)
Marriage: 1868
Children: John Joseph Burke I (1868-1939)
Mary Ellen Burke (1870-1957)
Burke-MaryMargaret 02d

Burkes in Jersey City circa 1895

Burke-William naturalization 02a

William Burke (1845-1919) naturalization of October 27, 1874

Burke-William-Death 1919

William Burke (1845-1919) death certificate

William Burke (1841-1919) was an immigrant from Ireland to the United States. He was a horse car driver in 1870 and later a milk dealer in Jersey City, New Jersey. (b. March 19, 1841, County Sligo, Ireland - d. July 29, 1919, Philadelphia General Hospital, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA)


Mary and John Burke (c1820-?).


William was born on March 19, 1841, possibly in County Sligo, Ireland. That date was used in his death certificate, and in the 1870 census he was listed as 30 years old. Mary Jane Burke (1941), a descendant, said he was born in County Sligo, Ireland. Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in Ireland in 1864.[1] Previous to that year events were recorded by the church and the may not be extant.[2] Approximately half the Church of Ireland parish registers were held at the Public Record Office and they were destroyed in 1922 in a fire and explosion during the Battle of Dublin of the Irish Civil War.


He emigrated to the United States on February 15, 1863 at age 18, to New York City.


He married Margaret Kane (1846-1912) around 1867, most likely in Jersey City, New Jersey. However they do not appear in the New Jersey marriage index that runs from May 1848 to May 1878.


According to the 1900 US census they only had two children and both were alive:


He was naturalized as a US citizen on October 27, 1874 in Jersey City and his certificate was handed down in the family and was last with his great-grandson, Vincent Gerard Norton (1923-2005) in Sarasota, Florida in 2005.


He was a horse car driver in 1870. Later he was a milk dealer from his home at 26 Atlantic Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Marriage of sonEdit

Around 1889, his son, John married Nora M. Finn (1866-1898) and she gave birth to Mary Margaret Burke (1890-1949) aka May Burke. In 1898 Nora died of pneumonia and Mary was raised by Nora's sister, Catherine Elizabeth Finn (1864-1918) aka Kate Finn, who worked as a secretary at a pencil company. In 1899 John Burke then married Josephine Smith (1875-1962) and they had five children together. John had trouble earning enough money to support his children so the girls were raised by his sister, Mary Burke.

Daughter may have adopted childrenEdit

Mary Ellen Burke (1870-1957) raised the two children from her husband's previous marriage: Leona Veronica Patterson; and John Patterson.

Jersey City, New JerseyEdit

The family was living at 26 Atlantic Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1900. John did not list an occupation.


By 1910 William Burke and his wife, Margaret, retired to Delaware County, Pennsylvania and lived with their daughter, Mary Ellen Burke, and her husband, Richard B. Patterson II .

Death of wifeEdit

Margaret died on June 12, 1912 and William bought a cemetery plot in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. The deed was in the possession of Vincent Gerard Norton (1923-2005) in Florida as of 2005, and is now with his son Kenneth.


William Burke died on July 29, 1919 at the Philadelphia General Hospital in Philadelphia. He died of Alzheimer's disease and his death certificate lists the cause of death as "exhaustion from senile dementia". He was listed as a milk dealer.


He was buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Yeadon, Pennsylvania, There are no markers for any of the graves. The plot contains:


The deed to his cemetery plot and his naturalization certificate were handed down in the family and were last with his second great-grandson, Kenneth Stephen Norton (1955- ) in Sarasota, Florida in 2007.


Updated on March 20, 2009 by Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) with information from the 1870 census. This changed his birth date and added a new occupation.

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit




  1. ^ Ireland Civil Registration, Familysearch,, retrieved 2013-04-07 
  2. ^ Parish records and marriage licences, National Archives of Ireland, "For the period before 1864, church records provide the only record of most baptisms, marriages and burials."