Looking for the Ancestral Line of James Burdick

Researcher: Tamara Langford (
Posted: June, 2019

(Tamara has uncovered much about her 5g-grandfather, James Burdick. James is one of our mysterious ancestors, being listed as both a Patriot and a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Much has been written about him and there is an extensive article about him in the Winter 2019 Burdick Newsletter. But one thing Tamara has been unable to determine is who was his father. James' father is generally thought to be (and is listed as) Hubbard Burdick but Tamara believes he may be the son of Joshua Burdick. Either way, James is the g-grandson of our original ancestor, Robert. Can you help her determine the truth? -- HB)

James is a fairly common first name, and while there may have been more than one James Burdick during the second half of the 18th century (living until 1807), I am looking for my ancestor of this name and how he relates to the Rhode Island Burdick family of Robert Burdick (I1) and Ruth Hubbard (I10001).

My ancestor James Burdick (I210042) was born circa 1744 probably in Rhode Island, married Phoebe Smith (I10810001) in Massachusetts in the 1760's and resided there and other areas before moving to South Hero, Vermont where he ran a ferry service. I believe even then it was his intention to move to Canada, perhaps due to his Loyalist tendencies. I have been working on this for more than a decade and while sharing and receiving information from fellow descendants I am trying to piece together his background with documentation.

As the title shows I am inquiring about his ancestors. Many of us look for the descendants and while I am not averse to finding out more about his descendants and where they all are now, I am more interested for my own research in going back in time. According to the book about the Burdicks by Nellie Johnson, pages 28 and 29, James Burdick is listed as the son of Hubbard Burdick junior (I42), and great-grandson of the aforementioned Robert and Ruth. Aside from this notation, however, there is no proof to list him as being the son of Hubbard. I have not seen a will for Hubbard junior, but have seen a copy of the will of Hubbard senior (I11). While he bequeaths a great deal to his son and his heirs, no grandchild is mentioned by name. The one glimmer of hope this is true is that Nellie has also included Freedom (I410042) as another son. In two other documents I've read that Freedom sells land to James in Richmond in the 1780's and then in New Brunswick Canada and petitions to move inland to Upper Canada and mentions his brother who is already there. Another plus is the fact she places James in Vermont for the 1790 Census.

I have often wondered, however, if James was the son of Joshua Burdick (I36) who went on to marry Abigail Lanphere (I10036). This Joshua was the son of Robert Burdick (I10) and Rebecca Foster (I10010) and grandson of Robert and Ruth. I had inherited papers from one of my aunts who noted this as James' ancestral line, but again no proof. The reason I had leaned towards this possibility however was the naming of his children... including a daughter Abigail and a son Joshua. According to other notes I've seen they had other children named Caleb and Rachel (again names of children of James and Phoebe). The other reason was because there was no proof to substantiate him being the son of Hubbard and he did not name a child Hubbard or Avis (as it was common practice to name children after their grandparents.)

Perhaps someone who reads this can offer clues, documentation or proof or even their own theories on where James Burdick came from. I know of a small book written entitled, "Ancestry and Posterity of Elizabeth Hoy Brown", claiming her ancestor (my) James Burdick was born in 1744 in Scotland! While they have included other family information which seems correct, I doubt the Scottish claim but did look into it.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.