Cliff Burton

Birth Name: Clifford Lee Burton

Date of Birth: February 10, 1962

Place of Birth: Castro Valley, Alameda, California, United States

Date of Death: 27 September, 1986

Place of Death: Dörarp, Ljungby Municipality, Sweden

*father – English, some Welsh
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

Cliff Burton was an American musician and songwriter. He was the bassist for heavy metal band Metallica. The band’s members have also included/include Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Ron McGovney, Dave Mustaine, Jason Newsted, and Lars Ulrich.

As a bassist, he made heavy use of distortion and effects (several of which are usually associated with non-bass guitars), best exemplified on his signature piece “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth.”

Cliff was the son of Janet “Jan” (Morgen) and Ray Herbert Burton. His father had English, and some Welsh, ancestry. His mother was Jewish, of Czech Jewish and German Jewish descent.

Cliff’s paternal grandfather was named Paul Oliver Burton (the son of Oliver Philmore “Arby/Obby” Burton and Sarah L. “Sallie”). Paul was born in Tennessee.

Cliff’s paternal grandmother was Mary Sallie Lenoir (the son of Peyton R. “Pate” Lenoir and Mattie J. Ward). Mary was born in Tennessee.

Cliff’s maternal grandfather was Irwin Morgenstern/Morgen (the son of Millard Morgenstern and Matilda Lewis). Irwin was born in California. Millard was a Bohemian Jew, and was the son of Israel Morgenstern and Kathie. Matilda was born in San Francisco, of German Jewish descent, the daughter of Morris Lewis and Johanna Louvie, from Berlin.

Cliff’s maternal grandmother was Marion Rosenthal (the daughter of Sigmund Rosenthal and Idella Lang). Marion was born in California. Sigmund was a German Jew, born in Posen, and was the son of Mina Alexander. Idella was born in San Francisco, the daughter of Isaac Louis Lang and Dora Phillips. Isaac was born in Kentucky, to German Jewish parents. Dora was born in New York, also to German Jewish parents.

Sources: Cliff’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Cliff’s paternal grandparents, Paul Oliver Burton and Mary Sallie Lenoir –

Cliff’s paternal grandfather, Paul Oliver Burton, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Cliff’s paternal grandmother, Mary Sallie Lenoir, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Cliff Burton (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Death record of Cliff’s mother –

Cliff’s maternal great-grandmother, Idella Lang, on the 1880 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

3 Responses

  1. Manila says:

    Correction: Ron McGovney was his predecessor, and please add Jason Newsted as his successor.

  2. Manila says:

    He was the son of Ray Herbert Burton and Janet “Jan” Morgen.

    Cliff’s paternal grandparents were Paul Oliver Burton (the son of Oliver Philmore “Arby/Obby” Burton and Sarah L. “Sallie”) and Mary Sallie Lenoir (the son of Peyton R. “Pate” Lenoir and Mattie J. Ward).

    Cliff’s maternal grandparents were ? Morgen and ? Rosenthal.

    * Cliff’s birth record:
    * Ray’s 1930 US Census:
    * Janet’s death record:
    * Paul and Mary’s marriage record:
    * Paul’s 1900 US Census:
    * Mary’s 1900 US Census:

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