English (chiefly West Country):1. (of Norman origin) from the Old French personal name Burdo (oblique case Burdon), probably of Germanic origin, but uncertain meaning. 2. nickname for a pilgrim or one who carried a pilgrim's staff, Middle English, Old French bourdon. 3. habitational name from any of various places called Burdon or Burden. Burden in West Yorkshire and Great Burdon in County Durham are named with Old English burh ‘stronghold’, ‘fortified place’ + dūn ‘hill’; Burdon in Tyne and Wear is named with Old English bȳre ‘byre’ + denu ‘valley’.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.