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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

When the Strongbownian's arrived in Ireland there was already a system for creating patronymic names in place. Therefore, the native population regarded many of the Anglo-Norman naming practices that these settlers were accustomed to as rather unusual. Despite their differences, the two different systems eventually merged together rather insidiously. The Strongbownians, when they arrived, displayed a preference for used nickname surnames. Two of the most prevalent forms were oath nicknames and imperative names. Oath names often carried blessings or were formed from habitual expressions. Imperative names, formed from a verb added to a noun or an adverb, metaphorically described the bearer's occupations. The nick name surname Browne is derived from a nickname for a person with brown hair or a tanned complexion, or a person who favored brown clothing. The surname Browne is derived from the Old English word brun or the Old French word brun, which both mean brown, and are both ultimately of Germanic origin. The Gaelic forms of the name are De Brún or le Brún. The latter form is considered to be correct.


During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: Browne, Brownes and others.

First found in County Galway. The first Browne to settle in Ireland was descended from the Counts of Marche in Pictou, in Normandy. Hugh le Brun married Isabel, the widow of King John, and their son, William de Valence was created Earl of Pembroke. Sir Hugh le Brun was one of the Lords of the Marches of Wales. His grandson, Sir William landed in Ireland in 1172 during the Norman invasion, and his son, Fromond le Brun, was Chancellor of Ireland in 1230. From Fromond was descended Sir David who built the Castle of Carrowbrowne in Oranmore. This became the senior branch of the Brownes of Galway.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Browne research. Another 299 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1705, 1757, 1608, 1634, 1635, 1585, 1656, 1610, 1670, 1668, 1638, 1694, 1594, 1633 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Browne History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Browne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Browne:

Browne Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Robart Browne, who arrived in Virginia in 1618
  • Peter Browne, who landed in Virginia in 1620 aboard the "Mayflower" from Surrey, England
  • Rebecca Browne, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Weston Browne, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Abraham Browne, who arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1630

Browne Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Ducksell Browne, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Benjn Browne, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1712
  • Marke Browne, who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • Francis Browne, who arrived in Virginia in 1723
  • Martin Browne, aged 34, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738

Browne Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thos Browne, who landed in America in 1806
  • Bridget Browne, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • James Browne, who landed in Aranzazu or Copano, Tex in 1829
  • F A Browne, aged 45, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837
  • J B Browne, aged 26, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1843

Browne Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Edmond Browne, who arrived in Colorado in 1907


  • Olin Douglas Browne (b. 1959), American professional golfer
  • Jackson Browne (b. 1948), American rock music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist
  • Charles Farrar Browne (1834-1867), American humorist
  • Dik Browne (1917-1989), American popular cartoonist, best known for writing and drawing Hägar the Horrible and for drawing Hi and Lois
  • Brigadier-General Frederick William Browne (1875-1960), American Assistant Budget Officer War Department (1939-1944)
  • Malcolm Browne (1931-2012), American journalist and photographer, recipient of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize
  • Seán Browne (1916-1996), Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Noel Browne (1915-1997), Irish politician & doctor
  • Admiral William Browne (1777-1857), creator of the Argentine navy, born at Foxford, County Mayo
  • Jeremy Ulick Browne (1939-2014), 11th Marquess of Sligo, Irish peer



  • Brown (Browne) and the Descendants in Carolina Today by Joseph Parsons Brown.
  • Browne-Schutt Ancestral Lines by Jessie Bruce Smith Ornes.

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: Fortiter et fideliter
Motto Translation: Boldly and faithfully.


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  2. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  3. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  10. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Browne Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Browne 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 25 September 2014 at 11:59.

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