Three men, named Gabriel, John and Thomas BURNETT were living in Otley in 1579. John BURNETT of Otley died and left a will, dated 1 Oct 1579, in which he named Gabriel and Thomas as beneficiaries and identified them as his brothers. All were adults. It is not known how long the brothers had lived in Otley and their parents have not been identified. It is possible that they were born in Otley, but it is equally possible that they were born elsewhere and that their father moved his family to Otley when they were young. The Lay Subsidy Roll for the Wapentake of Skyrack, in 1545 does list a Roger BURNETT at Otley, who paid one penny tax on goods worth £1, but there is no evidence to link Roger with the three brothers, Gabriel, John and Thomas.
It appears that two of the brothers, Gabriel and John, did not have any surviving children but Thomas did and he was the 'root' ancestor for this particular family tree. Four generations of his descendants lived in Otley but other descendants had moved away and had established side branches, particularly in Leeds. By the early eighteenth century only one branch of this family was still living in Otley and by 1750 there was no BURNETT presence there.