Show ContentsBrainard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Brainard is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Brainard family 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 or at Brain in Anjou. [1]

Early Origins of the Brainard family

The surname Brainard was first found in Norfolk where Ketell Brain was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1166. Later Walter Brayn was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275. [2] Matthew de Brain occurs in Yorkshire 1199. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 recorded Alicia Brayn, Cambridgeshire; Helena Brayn, Huntingdonshire; and John Brayn, Cambridgeshire. [3]

"A family of Brain held lands in the parish of Little Dean [Gloucestershire] from the time of Elizabeth up to last century, and the name still occurs there. The Brains also owned the manor of Stanton [Chippenham, Wiltshire] 300 years ago. This is an ancient English name: it was represented in Hunts in the reign of Edward I." [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, Thomas Brayne of Baldowy was witness in 1462, and David Brane, artium magister, 1477. David Brane was witness in Aberdeen, 1492. John Brane signed the Band of Dumfries, 1570, Roger Brain in Allegawin, parish of Glenbervie, 1601, and four more of the name are recorded in Brechin Commissariot Record. [5] In Scotland, the name often appears as MacBryane. [2]

Early History of the Brainard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brainard research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1686, 1580 and 1751 are included under the topic Early Brainard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brainard Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Brainard include Brain, Braine, Brayne, Brane, Brayn and others.

Early Notables of the Brainard family (pre 1700)

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

Brainard Ranking

In the United States, the name Brainard is the 8,506th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

United States Brainard migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Brainards to arrive on North American shores:

Brainard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Daniel Brainard, aged 8, who landed in Hartford, Connecticut in 1649 [7]
Brainard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W H Brainard, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • A. M. Brainard, aged 25, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1892
  • Austin Brainard, aged 37, who landed in America, in 1897
Brainard Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Alfred Henry Brainard, aged 56, who immigrated to America, in 1907
  • Annie Brainard, aged 50, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Edward Brainard, who immigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Daniel Brainard, aged 50, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Annie A. Brainard, aged 44, who immigrated to the United States, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Brainard (post 1700) +

  • Michael Brainard (b. 1965), American actor, best known for his role as Ted Capwell on NBC's soap opera Santa Barbara (1991-1993)
  • Frederick F. "Fred" Brainard (1892-1959), American Major League Baseball infielder who played from 1914 to 1916
  • Daniel Brainard (1812-1866), American surgeon from Chicago, founder of Rush Medical College in 1837
  • Brigadier-General David Legge Brainard (1856-1946), American arctic explorer and soldier
  • Bertha "Betty" Brainard (1890-1946), early American pioneering NBC executive, the network's first woman executive, head of programming for NBC in 1928
  • William C. Brainard, American economist, Arthur Okun Professor Emeritus of Economics at Yale University
  • Asahel "Asa" Brainard (1841-1888), nicknamed "Count", early American ace pitcher of the original Cincinnati Red Stockings
  • Lael Brainard (b. 1962), the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (2010-)
  • Joe Brainard (1942-1994), American artist and writer, best known for his memoir I Remember
  • John Gardiner Calkins Brainard (1795-1828), American lawyer, editor and poet
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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