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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


Brake is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from a family once having lived near a newly cultivated piece of land. The surname Brake is derived from the Old English word bręc.

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The surname Brake was first found in Shropshire where they held a family seat at Breche as Lords of the manor, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Brake has been recorded under many different variations, including Breach, Brech, Britch and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brake research. Another 262 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brake History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Brake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Brake or a variant listed above:

Brake Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Henry Brake, who landed in Virginia in 1648
  • Elizabeth Brake, who arrived in Maryland in 1658
  • John Brake, who arrived in Maryland in 1665
  • Thomas Brake, who landed in Maryland in 1674
  • Abraham Brake, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682

Brake Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Jasper Brake, aged 40, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748

Brake Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Aartje VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Evertje VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Mrs. G VanDer Brake, who arrived in lowa in 1857
  • Gerrit VanDer Brake, who landed in Iowa in 1857
  • Hannis VanDer Brake, who arrived in Iowa in 1857

Brake Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Henry Brake arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asia" in 1839

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  • Richard Brake (b. 1964), Welsh/American actor
  • Colin Brake (b. 1962), English television writer and script editor
  • Patricia Brake (b. 1945), English television actress
  • Thomas Anthony Brake (b. 1962), British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament
  • Brian Brake (1927-1988), New Zealand photographer who helped establish the New Zealand Centre for Photography


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  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Brake Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brake Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 5 October 2014 at 18:22.

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