Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Researching the Burgess Registered Heritage Property, Whiteway

The Burgess Property in Whiteway, Trinity Bay, is a registered heritage property which has been passed down through 6 generations of the Burgess family. The property consists of 6 buildings each with buildings used their own distinct purpose. The diversity of the buildings used by the Burgess family speak to the diversified functions of outport life throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the different sources of income families accessed to make a living.

The Burgess family history certainly reflects a diversity of trades undertaken on the property. While many of the Burgess men were listed simply as fishermen in early censuses, there is strong evidence suggesting that Charles Burgess initially came over to Whiteway as a sailmaker, and later evidence suggests that the family was involved in shipbuilding at a nearby dockyard in addition to fishing and logging. Notably, the women of the Burgess family also played important and diverse economic roles in the family. Naomi Burgess, for example, was an active midwife and Jane Mave Burgess participated in the Labrador fishery in the early 1900s, and continued to impress young boys with her cod-splitting skills well into her '70s.

Research into the Burgess Property is currently being conducted by HeritageNL as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, and is currently seeking community and family participants to share stories and memories about the Burgess Property in Whiteway. 

Elizabeth Burgess carrying water from Jimmy Rowe’s Pond, courtesy Burgess family.

If you have a memory of the Burgess family or property, comment below or email

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