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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The name Bragg is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a cheerful or lively person. The name stems from the Old English root, bragge, which means lively, gay, or active. A Norman derivation is slightly different, and suggests that the word stems from the root braggi, which means a hero, or man of great accomplishment. [1]

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The surname Bragg was first found in Cambridgeshire where they held a family seat from very early times. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Henry Brag as holding estates in Cambridgeshire. The Register of the University of Oxford list Edward Bragge in 1573 and Edmund Bragge in 1601. [2]

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bragg, Brag, Braggs, Bragge and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bragg research. Another 353 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 110 and 1100 are included under the topic Early Bragg History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Bragg family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 51 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Bragg or a variant listed above:

Bragg Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Bragg, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Wm Bragg, who landed in Virginia in 1650
  • William Bragg settled in Virginia in 1650
  • John Bragg who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Peter Bragg, who landed in Virginia in 1664


Bragg Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • William Bragg, born in Chard, Somerset, England was baptized in Trinity in 1817
  • W M Bragg, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • G F Bragg, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • John Bragg, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1856
  • William Bragg was a fisherman in Seal Islands in 1871

Bragg Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William Bragg of Trinity was married at St. John's in 1803

Bragg Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Bragg, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Henry Bragg arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Derwent" in 1849
  • Frederick Bragg, aged 37, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Catherine" in 1851
  • Frederick Bragg, aged 37, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Catherine"


Bragg Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Henry Bragg landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Richard Bragg landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Richard Bragg, aged 40, a farm labourer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Charlotte Bragg, aged 36, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Jane Bragg, aged 17, a sempstress, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841


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  • Janet Harmon Waterford Bragg (1907-1993), born Jane Nettie Harmon, American amateur aviator, the first African-American woman to hold a Commercial Pilot Licence
  • George Washington Bragg (1926-2007), American conductor and founder of the Texas Boys Choir
  • John Bragg (1806-1878), American politician, U.S. Representative from Alabama
  • Don Bragg (b. 1935), American gold medalist pole vaulter at the 1960 Summer Olympics
  • Thomas Bragg (1810-1872), American politician and lawyer, the 34th Governor of North Carolina (1855-1859)
  • Paul Bragg (1895-1976), American nutritionist, founder of the Bragg Health Center
  • Darren Bragg (b. 1969), American Major League Baseball player
  • Braxton Bragg (1817-1876), American Confederate general in the Civil War, eponym of Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Walter Leonard "Wally" Bragg (1929-2016), English football centre half
  • Stephen William "Billy" Bragg (b. 1957), English alternative rock musician

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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: Fidelis et constans
Motto Translation: Faithful and steadfast.

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  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Bragg Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bragg 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 17 March 2016 at 11:23.

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