Inverbervie man Craig Burness is officially a ninth cousin, three times removed, of Scotland’s national poet,
As a blood relation, he shares different branches of the same family tree.
Craig’s late father, Bryan Burness, grew up in a house called Mossgiel, on Mary Street, Stonehaven, a reference to Burns’ Ayrshire farm where he wrote the famous ‘To a Mouse.’
The 38-year-old father-of-three went on to say he had been brought up mainly in Martin Avenue and attended Arduthie Primary School and then Mackie Academy.
He said: “The whole fascination with the bard only seems to occur around Burns night and has more to do with the kids being at school, as their classmates can’t quite believe that we are related.
“It was the same when I was younger, so it must be a generational thing. I can remember every year at school we would recite Burns’ poems, and I believe most schools still do this today. I think it’s fantastic that his legacy lives on.
‘‘A few years ago, we visited Burns’ birth home in Alloway, Ayr, and the kids were asking if Burns was still in the house!”
When asked about his own literary ability, Craig laughed and said: “Writing was never my thing, I have always been more of a numbers man.”
He did, however, let us in on a little-known family secret, saying: “Not a lot of people realise Rabbie Burns is actually called Robert Burness, and that he himself changed his name to Burns in 1786.”
Craig confessed that haggis would not be on the menu on Burns night, as he would more likely be having mince and tatties!
However, he concluded: “John Burness, who lives in Canada, put together a fantastic website http://www.burness.ca of which lots of fascinating information can be found, including branches of the family tree.
‘He recently asked me to participate in a DNA project to determine if all members of the Burness family from Scotland are from a common ancestor.”