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

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

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.


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.

First found in Cambridgeshire 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. The name in its original form was Braggi a Norman word meaning a hero and eventually became 'a man of great accomplishment' hence called by the envious 'a braggard' or 'boaster'.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bragg research. Another 193 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1100 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Bragg History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Bragg family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


  • 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
  • Stephen William "Billy" Bragg (b. 1957), English alternative rock musician
  • Sir William Lawrence Bragg CH, OBE, MC, FRS (1890-1971), Australian-born, English physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 with his father Sir William Henry Bragg, eponym of Bragg's law



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. 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).
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. 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.
  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 20 December 2015 at 11:50.

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