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.


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 [6]
Braithwaite Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Braithwaite, who landed in Barbados in 1750 [6]
  • John Braithwaite, who settled in Maryland in 1774
  • William Braithwaite who settled in Maryland in 1775
  • Thomas Braithwaite, who landed in Maryland in 1776 [6]
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
  • John Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [7]
  • Frank Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [7]
  • George Braithwaite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [7]

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 [8]
  • 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 [8]
  • Mr. Braithwaite, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 1st December 1852 [9]
  • Mrs. Braithwaite, British settler with family travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 1st December 1852 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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
  • John Braithwaite the Younger (1797-1870), English engineer who invented the first steam fire engine, hird son of John Braithwaite the Elder [10]
  • 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
  • John Robert "Bob" Braithwaite MBE (1925-1968), British gold medalist trap shooter at the 1968 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 4 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 [11]
  • 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 [12]
  • 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 [12]
  • 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 [12]
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 [13]


  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. ^ 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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BOLTON 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Bolton.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  13. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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