William Reith1

#10976, b. 5 November 1843, d. 10 July 1893
     William Reith was born on 5 November 1843 in New Brunswick.2,3,4 He was the son of William Reith and Isobel Henderson.1,2 He married Jane Langford on 2 February 1869 in Lucan, Ontario, Canada.3 He died on 10 July 1893 in London, Ontario, Canada, at age 49.3

Children of William Reith and Jane Langford


  1. 1851 Canadian Census, Canada West.
  2. 1861 Canadian Census, Canada West.
  3. Research of Lawrence Ruxton Burness.
  4. Research of Fredrick Newton Paul.
  5. Marriage Registration, Archives of Ontario.
  6. FamilySearch, Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956.
  7. 1871 Canadian Census, Ontario.
  8. 1881 Canadian Census, Ontario.
  9. 1891 Canadian Census, Ontario.
  10. FamilySearch, British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932.
  11. FamilySearch, British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986.
  12. Birth Registration, Archives of Ontario.
  13. Death Registration, Archives of Ontario.

Margaret Ley1

#10977, b. 1 March 1850, d. 9 June 1930
     Margaret Ley was born on 1 March 1850 in Knockbank, Fordoun, Kincardineshire, Scotland.1 She was the daughter of James Ley and Helen Reith.1,2,3,4 She married James Watson on 11 September 1877 in Knockbank, Fordoun, Kincardineshire, Scotland.2,3 She died on 9 June 1930 in 51 Laurel Street, Glasgow, Scotland, at age 80.3


  1. OPR Fordoun.
  2. Marriage Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  3. Death Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  4. 1851 Scottish Census, Kincardineshire.

Jane Ley1

#10978, b. 6 August 1853, d. 15 May 1946
     Jane Ley was born on 6 August 1853 in Knockbank, Fordoun, Kincardineshire, Scotland.2 She was the daughter of James Ley and Helen Reith.2,3,4,1,5 She married Andrew Allan on 5 April 1873 in 104 Bank Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.3,4 She died on 15 May 1946 in 95 Ayr Road, Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland, at age 92.4

Children of Jane Ley and Andrew Allan


  1. 1861 Scottish Census, Kincardineshire.
  2. OPR Fordoun.
  3. Marriage Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  4. Death Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  5. 1871 Scottish Census, Kincardineshire.
  6. 1891 Scottish Census, Aberdeenshire.
  7. 1901 Scottish Census, Lanarkshire.
  8. 1911 Scottish Census, Lanarkshire.
  9. FamilySearch, Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881.
  10. 1881 Scottish Census, Lanarkshire.
  11. Birth Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.

Elizabeth Ruxton Gray1

#10979, b. 13 October 1885, d. 3 March 1968
     Elizabeth Ruxton Gray was born on 13 October 1885 in Dorbshill, Logie Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.2 She was the daughter of James Johnston Gray and Elizabeth Ruxton.2,1,3 She married William Burness, son of James Burness and Ann Hird, on 12 April 1909 in 18 King Street, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.1,3 She died on 3 March 1968 in 36 Whitehall Terrace, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, at age 82.3

Children of Elizabeth Ruxton Gray and William Burness


  1. Marriage Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  2. Birth Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  3. Death Registration, General Register Office for Scotland, transcribed by: Lawrence Ruxton Burness.
  4. Birth Registration, General Register Office, transcribed by: Lawrence Ruxton Burness.
  5. Death Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  6. 1911 English Census, Surrey.
  7. Birth Registration, General Register Office.

Lawrence Ruxton Burness1

#10980, b. 24 July 1910, d. 17 February 2004
     Lawrence Ruxton Burness was born on 24 July 1910 in 10 Purley Vale, Purley, Surrey, England.1 He was the son of William Burness and Elizabeth Ruxton Gray.1,2,3 He died on 17 February 2004 in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Angus, Scotland, at age 93.2
     Obituary: Lawrence Burness's direct descent from James Burnes, grandfather of Robert Burns, influenced the twin features of his life's work. He was one of Scotland's most notable twentieth-century genealogists, and he remained a lifelong scholar of the bard. His practical work in the 1960s ensured that the Burns family gravestones in Kincardineshire were preserved, as well as securing the establishment and endowment of a centre devoted to genealogy and the study of Burns. Burns and genealogy ran in the Burness line. His father, William, inherited a graphic family tree from Lawrence's grandfather, tracing the line to the seventeenth-century Robert Burnes in the croft of Bogjorgan in Kincardineshire. Lawrence remembers being fascinated by this at 16. Immersed in matters Burnsian and ancestral, Burness had made valuable pre-war contacts in the wider Burns world. These he nurtured in the post-war climate, especially the American benefactor William Coull Anderson. By 1967, an obelisk on the A90 in Kincardineshire overlooking the lands of Clochnahill, the home of William Burnes, Robert's father, had been unveiled. With Charles Easton (later president of the Burns Federation), Fenton Wyness and Norman Marr, Burness established the Glenbervie Burns Memorials Association, designed to draw attention to the decaying condition of Burns's family gravestones in Glenbervie Kirkyard. With Anderson's financial assistance, the stones were removed and placed upright inside all-weather frames. The relationship prospered once more, when Anderson endowed the Coull Anderson Genealogical Library in Arbroath for the study of family history, with Burness installed as keeper. Tall and ascetic with wavy brown hair, Burness met demands on his time with patience and courtesy. The Burns season each January weighed heavily, particularly in his time as president of Aberdeen Burns Club, and during his involvement with Stonehaven (Fatherland) Burns Club. For his lifetime work in the field, the Burns Federation appointed him an honorary president. Lawrence was born in Surrey, and he worked in London for a Scots company of importers. He was transferred in 1936 to Burma. At the outbreak of war, he volunteered for the Burma Navy and, in 1940, was one of the first officers to be commissioned. He saw service with bases in Akyab, north Burma and Calcutta, before taking command of his own vessel in Bombay, patrolling rivers and creeks of the Irrawaddy river. He finished the war ashore in Rangoon as lieutenant-commander. Always the ''ardent Scot'' and intent on returning to Scotland, he settled in Aberdeen. He made the Granite City his home, setting up as a west-end grocer and playing the organ in local churches. For half a century, he contributed to the journal of the Scottish Genealogy Society, and at the SGS golden jubilee in Edinburgh in November, was presented with an illuminated scroll. He was also a vice-president of Tay Valley Family History Society and travelled the world lecturing and researching. In sorties away from Burns and genealogy, he was knowledgeable about railways. He took particular care to travel in 1966 on the last train to ply the Bervie line near the Burns fatherland in the Mearns. He was also an early visitor, in 1973, to the headquarters of the then newly-established Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive. He died in Dundee after a short illness, and is survived by his younger sister, Elma Burness, formerly a Methodist missionary in West Africa. Lawrence Ruxton Burness FSAScot, genealogist and Burns scholar; born July 24, 1910, died February 17, 2004.4


  1. Birth Registration, General Register Office, transcribed by: Lawrence Ruxton Burness.
  2. Death Registration, General Register Office for Scotland.
  3. 1911 English Census, Surrey.
  4. HeraldScotland.com, Glasgow, Scotland.