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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Bradley family come from? What is the English Bradley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bradley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bradley family history?

The present generation of the Bradley family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in Lincolnshire, where they held estates in the village and parish of Bradley, and from which they derived their family name. The name refers to the local "broad ley" meaning "broad meadow" and for this there are many, many parishes, townships, hamlets with this name throughout England. However, the first record of the name appears in the Poll Tax Records of Lincolnshire where William de Bradelai was listed in 1170.


Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Bradley include Bradley, Bradlie, Bradleigh, Bradly, Bradeley and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bradley research. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1596, 1673, 1st and 1628 are included under the topic Early Bradley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 47 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bradley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Bradley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 223 words(16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Bradley were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Bradley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Bradley settled in Maryland in 1634
  • Daniell Bradley, aged 29, arrived in New England in 1635
  • Dorothy Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Francis Bradley settled in New Haven, Conn. in 1650
  • Bartholomew Bradley settled in Virginia in 1650

Bradley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Nathan Bradley, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1701
  • Tho Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Mary Bradley, who arrived in Georgia in 1738
  • Jno Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1769-1770
  • Robert Bradley, who arrived in New York in 1795

Bradley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Patk Bradley, who landed in America in 1805
  • Cath Bradley, who landed in America in 1805
  • Henry Bradley, who arrived in South Carolina in 1809
  • Francis Bradley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Bradley, who landed in America in 1811


  • Milton Bradley (1836-1911), American draftsman, lithographer and entrepreneur, best known as the founder of the Milton Bradley Company, makers of family board games
  • Edward Rudolph Bradley (1941-2006), American broadcast journalist best known for twenty-six years of award-winning work on the CBS News television magazine 60 Minutes
  • Bill Bradley (b. 1943), American politician and professional Basketball Player, Democratic senator from New Jersey
  • General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley (1893-1981), one of the main U.S. Army field commanders in North Africa and Europe during World War II and made General of the Army in 1950
  • Lieutenant George Bradley (1881-1942), United States Navy officer and a recipient of America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor
  • William O'Connell Bradley (1847-1914), American politician, the thirty-second Governor of Kentucky, and later, a U.S. senator from Kentucky
  • John Henry Bradley (1923-1994), United States Navy Cross recipient during World War II, and one of the six men who took part in Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
  • William Warren "Bill" Bradley (b. 1943), American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator
  • Captain Willis Winter Bradley (1884-1954), Naval officer, a recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Major-General Follett Bradley (1890-1952), American Air Inspector, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. (1943-1944)



  • The Ancestors of Leland Shaw Bradley by Leland Shaw Bradley.
  • The Bradley Family by Frederick W. Bradley.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vigilance et audax
Motto Translation: Vigilant and bold.


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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Bradley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bradley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 10 July 2014 at 15:50.

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