Braithwaite History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Braithwaite was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by an ancient Scottish people called the Strathclyde-Britons. It was a name for someone who lived in any of the places so named in Cumberland or Yorkshire, bordering on Scotland. This place-name derived from the Old Norse words for a broad clearing. [1]

Early Origins of the Braithwaite family

The surname Braithwaite was first found in Cumberland, at Braithwaite, a township, in the parish of Crosthwaite, Allerdale ward above Derwent. Braithwaite is also a hamlet, in the parish of KirkBramwith, union of Doncaster, Upper division of the wapentake of Osgoldcross in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [2]

"Braithwaite is a characteristic north of England name, occurring in Westmorland, Cumberland, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. A Cumberland parish and West Riding hamlets are thus called. An ancient Westmorland family of Brathwaite or Braithwaite resided at Ambleside, near Kendal, in the 16th and 17th centuries, and afterwards at Warcop and Burneside. " [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing for the family, that being in Yorkshire: Geoffrey de Braytweyt. But by the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, there were more listings: Alicia Brathwayt; Willelmus de Brathwat; and Willelmus de Brathwayt. [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, "the name is found in Edinburgh in the seventeenth century as Breathit and Breathwit." [5]

Early History of the Braithwaite family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Braithwaite research. Another 205 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1185, 1744, 1750, 1746, 1791, 1820, 1825, 1711, 1684, 1750, 1588, 1673, 1660, 1633 and 1633 are included under the topic Early Braithwaite History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Braithwaite Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were hardly exact sciences in Medieval Scotland. Sound, rather than any set of rules, was the basis for spellings, so one name was often spelled different ways even within a single document. Spelling variations are thus an extremely common occurrence in Medieval Scottish names. Braithwaite has been spelled Brathwaite, Brathwait, Braithwaite, Braithwait and many more.

Early Notables of the Braithwaite family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Richard Braithwaite or Brathwaite (1588-1673), an English poet best known for his 'Drunken Barnaby's Four Journeys.' He "belonged to a Westmorland family who variously spelt their name Brathwaite, Brathwait, Brathwayte, Braithwaite, Braythwait, and Braythwayte. The poet uses indifferently the first three of these forms. His great-grandfather, also Richard, the squire of Ambleside, had one son, Robert, who had two sons, Thomas and James, and five daughters. Thomas, the poet's...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Braithwaite Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Braithwaite Ranking

In the United States, the name Braithwaite is the 5,416th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]


United States Braithwaite migration to the United States +

Such hard times forced many to leave their homeland in search of opportunity across the Atlantic. Many of these families settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. The ancestors of many of these families have rediscovered their roots in the 20th century through the establishment of Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Among them:

Braithwaite Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Braithwaite, who arrived in New Jersey in 1675 [7]
Braithwaite Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Braithwaite, who settled in Maryland in 1774
  • William Braithwaite who settled in Maryland in 1775
  • Thomas Braithwaite, who landed in Maryland in 1776 [7]
Braithwaite Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Susan Braithwaite with her husband Francis arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with four children in 1822

Australia Braithwaite migration to Australia +

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

Braithwaite Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Braithwaite, English convict who was convicted in Preston, Lancashire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 25th June 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • John Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [9]
  • Frank Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [9]
  • George Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [9]
  • Miss Martha Braithwaite, English convict who was convicted in Leeds, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th November 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]

New Zealand Braithwaite migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Braithwaite Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A S Braithwaite, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. Braithwaite, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand via Nelson and Wellington on 1st March 1852 [11]
  • Mrs. Braithwaite, British settler travelling from London with 8 children aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand via Nelson and Wellington on 1st March 1852 [11]
  • Mr. Braithwaite, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 1st December 1852 [12]
  • Mrs. Braithwaite, British settler with family travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 1st December 1852 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Braithwaite migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [13]
Braithwaite Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Robert Braithwaite, who landed in Barbados in 1750 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Braithwaite (post 1700) +

  • Edward Ricardo "E.R." Braithwaite (1912-2016), Guyanese-born, American novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his 1959 autobiographical novel To Sir, With Love which was made into the film starring Sidney Poitier and Lulu
  • William Stanley Beaumont Braithwaite (1878-1962), American critic and poet
  • David Joseph Braithwaite OBE (1937-2021), New Zealand politician, 31st Mayor of Hamilton from 2001 to 2004
  • John Braithwaite the Younger (1797-1870), English engineer who invented the first steam fire engine, hird son of John Braithwaite the Elder [14]
  • John Braithwaite (1700-1768), English author of 'The History of the Revolution in the Empire of Morocco upon the Death of the late Emperor Muley Ishmael,' which was translated into three languages
  • John Braithwaite the Elder (d. 1818), English engineer, best known as the constructor of one of the earliest successful forms of diving-bell
  • Robert Braithwaite CBE, DL (1943-2019), British entrepreneur, marine engineer and co-founder and President of the luxury powerboat manufacturer, Sunseeker
  • William Thomas Braithwaite (1844-1918), northern Irish businessman, freemason, and marksman, co-founder of the public house chain of Braithwaite & McCann
  • Tunji Braithwaite (1934-2016), Nigerian lawyer, author and politician, founder of the Nigeria Advance Party
  • Robert "Bobby" Braithwaite (1937-2015), Northern Irish footballer who won ten caps for the Northern Ireland national team
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Isaac Braithwaite, British Baker from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [15]
  • Master John Braithwaite (1912-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [16]
  • Master William Ellis Braithwaite (1911-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mrs. Martha Dora Braithwaite (1888-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Dorothy Douglas Braithwaite, Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada visiting London, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [17]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emily
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BOLTON 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Bolton.htm
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duchess-of-northumberland
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  14. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019
  15. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  16. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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