Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is a collective term for carbon-rich residues comprised of a continuum of products arising from biomass burning and fossil-fuel combustion. PyC is ubiquitous in the environment where it can be transported by wind and water before being deposited in aquatic sediments. We compare results from four different methods used to trace PyC that were applied to a high-temporal resolution sedimentary record in order to constrain changes in PyC concentrations and fluxes over the past ~250 years. We find markedly discordant records for different PyC tracers, particularly during the pre-industrial age, implying different origins and modes of supply of sedimentary PyC. In addition to providing new insights into the composition of sedimentary combustion products, this study reveals that elucidation of past combustion processes, and development of accurate budgets of PyC production and deposition on local to regional scales requires careful consideration of both source characteristics and transport processes.