The data from 1500 - 1850 is extracted from parish
records in the Family Search online database - mainly from the
International Genealogical Index. The database covers many parishes,
but there are gaps, particularly in the early years where
records have been lost or destroyed or were not accessible.
Since the spelling of the name was variable during this
period, the data also includes births recorded as Burnel, Burnil,
Burnill and Burnhill. Other less common spellling variants have been
The data for 1850 - 1949 is taken from the BMD indexes
for England, Wales and Scotland and is of better quality. No spelling
variants have been included on the basis that the spelling had become
settled by this time. There is no Irish data for this period, but the
number of Burnells in Ireland is extremely small.
The charts show absolute numbers of births.
Since some counties had much larger populations than others,
you would expect the number of Burnell births to be correspondingly
higher in these counties. This is particularly true for Yorkshire and
London. Most of the Burnell births in Yorkshire are in the
comparatively small area of the West Riding, but the data did not allow
a breakdown by Riding.
There is clear evidence of clustering in particular
counties or parts of counties. The extent of clustering can be seen
most clearly by comparing Burnell births with total births for each
county. In 1700-1750 the top counties for Burnell births were:
Devonshire: 33 Burnells per 100,000 births
In 1800 - 1850 the top counties were:
Buckinghamshire: 36.3 Burnells per 100,000 births
It should be noted that births do not equate with
population. Due to high infant mortality, many of the infants whose
recorded here would not have reached adulthood.