Show ContentsBraine History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Braine was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Braine 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 Braine family

The surname Braine 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 Braine family

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

Braine Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Brain, Braine, Brayne, Brane, Brayn and others.

Early Notables of the Braine family (pre 1700)

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

United States Braine migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Braine or a variant listed above:

Braine Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Braine, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • John Braine, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • John Braine, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [6]
Braine Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Braine, who landed in East New Jersey in 1700 [6]
Braine Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Braine, who landed in America in 1804 [6]
  • Daniel Braine, who landed in America in 1806 [6]
  • John Josiah Braine, who arrived in New York, NY in 1845 [6]

Australia Braine migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Braine Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Braine who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "David Malcolm" on 13th May 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island [7]
  • Mr. William Braine, (Brain), English convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for 10 years for burglary, transported aboard the "China" on 32nd January 1846, arriving in Norfolk Island, Australia, he died in 1847 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Braine (post 1700) +

  • John Gerard Braine (1922-1986), English novelist
  • Richard Braine (1900-1998), British Royal Navy Read-Admiral
  • Sir Bernard Braine, British politician, Member of U.K. Parliament, knighted in 1992

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Edward William Braine (d. 1914), British Bedroom Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [9]
Flight 191
  • R N Braine (d. 1979), American passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash [10]

  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. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st June 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 5th February 2021 from
  9. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from
  10. Flight 191's Victims - latimes. (Retrieved 2014, April 16) . Retrieved from on Facebook