Brownfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 Brownfield is derived from a nickname for a person with brown hair or a tanned complexion, or a person who favored brown clothing. The surname Brownfield 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.

Early Origins of the Brownfield family

The surname Brownfield was 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.

Important Dates for the Brownfield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brownfield research. Another 150 words (11 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 Brownfield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brownfield Spelling Variations

During an investigation of the origin of each name, it was found that church officials and medieval scribes spelled many surnames as they sounded. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, a name could be spelt numerous ways. Some of the spelling variations for the name Brownfield include Browne, Brownes and others.

Early Notables of the Brownfield family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Geoffrey Browne (died 1608), Alderman of Galway, Mayor of Galway (1634-1635), member of the Tribes of Galway; Sir Dominick Browne (c.1585-1656), Irish merchant and landowner; Mother Mary Bonaventure Browne (ca.1610-1670), member of the...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brownfield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brownfield migration to the United States

In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Brownfield:

Brownfield Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joe Brownfield, who settled in Georgia in 1735 with his wife
  • John Brownfield, who landed in Georgia in 1735 [1]
  • James Brownfield, who settled in Georgia in 1745
Brownfield Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Reynold Brownfield, aged 24, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1910
  • Robert L. Brownfield, aged 31, who arrived in America, in 1910
  • Alfred Brownfield, aged 37, who arrived in America, in 1917
  • Bert Brownfield, aged 23, who arrived in America, in 1917
  • Dorothy Brownfield, aged 18, who arrived in America, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Brownfield migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brownfield Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mable Brownfield, aged 33, who arrived in Kingston, Ont., Canada, in 1913
  • Marjory Brownfield, aged 23, who arrived in Kingston, Ont., Canada, in 1913

Contemporary Notables of the name Brownfield (post 1700)

  • Troy Brownfield, American comic book writer, journalist, and college professor
  • William R. Brownfield (b. 1952), American Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (2011), former Ambassador to Colombia, Chile and Venezuela
  • Louisa Brownfield (b. 1984), birth name Louisa Brownfield, an English three-time bronze medalist netball player
  • Major-General Harold Oswald Neville Brownfield (1894-1958), Head of the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington (1946-1947) [2]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, September 15) Harold Brownfield. Retrieved from
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