Berrien History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Berrien family name to the British Isles. They lived in Gloucestershire. The family is believed to have been from Brain, near Hainaut in Normandy where they were nobles of the order of St. Empire.

Early Origins of the Berrien family

The surname Berrien was first found in Gloucestershire 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 family name is believed to have been seated in Hainaut in Normandy where they were nobles of the order of St. Empire.

Early History of the Berrien family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berrien research. Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berrien History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berrien Spelling Variations

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 Brain, Braine, Brayne, Brane, Brayn and others.

Early Notables of the Berrien family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Berrien Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Berrien migration to the United States +

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 Berrien or a variant listed above:

Berrien Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Cornelis Jansen Berrien, who arrived in New York in 1669 [1]
  • Cornelius Janse Berrien, who landed in New York in 1669 [1]
  • Cornelius Jansen Berrien, who arrived in Long Island in 1669 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Berrien (post 1700) +

  • John Macpherson Berrien (1781-1856), American politician, United States Senator from Georgia (1841-1852), 10th United States Attorney General (1829-1831)
  • John Berrien (1711-1772), American jurist, New Jersey supreme court justice, eponym of Berrien County, Georgia and Michigan
  • Rear Admiral Frank Dunn Berrien (1877-1951), American football coach and United States Navy officer, former Commander of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington
  • Jacqueline Ann Berrien (1961-2015), American lawyer and professor, head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under President Obama from 2009 to 2014
  • John Berrien Montgomery (1794-1872), American officer in the United States Navy who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War

  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) on Facebook
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