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

Origins Available: English, German

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

The name Brett arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Brett family lived in Brittany. The surname Brett is based upon the Old French word Bret, the nominative case of the word Breton which meant a Breton.


A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Brett, Britt, Bret, Brit and others.

First found in Essex where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. Tihel Brito was the first noble to settle. The Domesday Book, [1] compiled about 1086, records him with manors in both Essex and Norfolk, and one in Somerset.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brett research. Another 121 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1677, 1587, 1674, 1640 and 1644 are included under the topic Early Brett History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 79 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Brett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 33 words(2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Brett or a variant listed above:

Brett Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Isabel Brett settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • James Brett, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Alex Brett settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Alex Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • William Brett, who landed in New England in 1645

Brett Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Susanna Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • John Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Timothy Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
  • Matthias Brett, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766

Brett Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert R Brett, aged 53, landed in New York in 1806
  • Edmund Brett, aged 37, landed in New York in 1812
  • Richard Brett, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • R S Brett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Martin Brett, aged 18, landed in New York in 1854


  • Lieutenant-General George Howard Brett (1886-1963), American Commanding General of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific (1942)
  • Brigadier-General Sereno Elmer Brett (1891-1952), American Commanding General 5th Armored Division (1942-1943)
  • Sir Lionel Brett (1919-1990), English (Belfast born) judge, who became a Justice on the Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1958
  • Raymond Brett, English Professor of English at the University of Hull
  • Reginald Baliol Brett (1852-1930), second Viscount of Esher
  • Kenneth Alven "Kemer" Brett (1948-2003), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • The Right Honourable William Baliol Brett PC, QC (1817-1899), 1st Viscount Esher, British lawyer, judge and Conservative politician
  • Stephen Brett (b. 1985), New Zealand rugby union player
  • George Brett (b. 1953), American Hall of Fame third baseman
  • George Howard Brett (1886-1963), United States Army Air Forces general during World War II



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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Brett Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brett 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 24 June 2014 at 12:10.

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