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

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

Brake is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from a family once having lived near a newly cultivated piece of land. The surname Brake is derived from the Old English word bręc.

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The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Brake has been recorded under many different variations, including Breach, Brech, Britch and others.

First found in Shropshire where they held a family seat at Breche as Lords of the manor, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brake research. Another 262 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brake History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Brake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Brake or a variant listed above:

Brake Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Henry Brake, who landed in Virginia in 1648
  • Elizabeth Brake, who arrived in Maryland in 1658
  • John Brake, who arrived in Maryland in 1665
  • Thomas Brake, who landed in Maryland in 1674
  • Abraham Brake, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682

Brake Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Jasper Brake, aged 40, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748

Brake Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Aartje VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Evertje VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Mrs. G VanDer Brake, who arrived in lowa in 1857
  • Gerrit VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Hannis VanDer Brake, who arrived in Iowa in 1857

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  • Richard Brake (b. 1964), Welsh/American actor
  • Patricia Brake (b. 1945), English television actress
  • Colin Brake (b. 1962), English television writer and script editor
  • Brian Brake (1927-1988), New Zealand photographer who helped establish the New Zealand Centre for Photography
  • Thomas Anthony Brake (b. 1962), British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament


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  1. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Brake Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brake 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 7 October 2013 at 11:03.

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