Popular United States Surnames
Genealogy For Brown Surname

Brief History of Brown Surname : The Brown family name or surname originates from many different dialects that eventually translated to the English word, Brown. As an interesting brown family tree fact, the Dutch word for Brown is bruin. The German variation is braun, while the Old Norse variation is brunn. All close variations relate back to how different dialects describe the color, brown.

In Ireland, the Brehons were Druids who studied law to become local judges. Many historians theorize that the Brehons took on this surname and variated it to Brown as a way to blend in with the masses.

Folk lure connects the surname Brown as a surname with the MacMillan clan in Scotland. In general, the term Brown was often used as a nickname to replace a person's personal name. The English form of Brown replaced the Gaelic terms that run closely with that descriptive name.

One of the earliest known Brown was Sir David Le Brun who witnessed the foundation charter of Holyrood Abby in 1128. Le Brun traces his lineage back to the King of France. Le Brun settled in England after being rewarded land by William the Conqueror after his efforts during the famed Battle of Hastings.

Earliest European Record of the Johnson Surname :
  • Waltrus Brown - church in Glasgow in 1116
  • Sir David Le Brun - signed as witness to foundation charter of Holyrood Abby
  • Richard de Brown - Signed Rigman Roll in 1296 that swore his allegiance to Scotland.

  • The Country Origins of the Brown Surname
    As a catchy descriptive nickname that became a surname, Brown, is very popular in every English speaking country. Brown is the second most popular surname in Scotland, but is also very popular in England and Ireland, where many Scottish Browns emmigrated to before sailing to America primarily in search of religious freedoms.
    Scotland : Many fables revolve around the history of the Brown surname in Scotland. Many historians believe that the Brown clan branched off from the MacMillan clan. One story states that bandits attempted to steal the cattle, owned by the MacMillan clan of Carradale Glenn. The father and his four sons fought the bandits off. Once the bandits retreated, one of the sons followed them and returned with all of their heads as a present to his father. From that day, the father referred to this gallant son as his Brown son. Another theory suggests that the Brown clan were a poor sect of the MacMillan clan.
    England : This history of the Brown family in England starts with Sir David Le Brun, a descendant to the King of France. As a reward for his valor during the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror rewarded him with land in England.
    Ireland : Many of the Scottish Browns made their way into the town of Ulster. The surname Donn has the same meaning as Brun or Brown. Thus, many Donn families replaced their Gaelic names with the surname, Brown.

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