Branch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Branch was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. The ancestors of the Branch family lived in the county of Westmorland (now part of Cumbria), where the family can trace its origin to shortly after the Norman Conquest. The surname Branch comes from the Old English word branche, which means branch. While it is unclear as to how this word came to be used as a surname, it may have been a topographical surname type, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree.

Early Origins of the Branch family

The surname Branch was first found in Westmorland where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The family were from St. Denis de Branche, and the name Braunch appears on the Honour Roll of Battell Abbey of those companions of Duke William Normandy at Hastings.

Early History of the Branch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Branch research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1169, 1238, 1331, and 1500 are included under the topic Early Branch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Branch Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Branch are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Branch include Branch, Branche, Braunche, Braunch and others.

Early Notables of the Branch family (pre 1700)

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

Branch Ranking

In the United States, the name Branch is the 718th most popular surname with an estimated 39,792 people with that name. [1]


United States Branch migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Branch, or a variant listed above:

Branch Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Christopher Branch (c. 1602-1681), English settler to America from Kent, who sailed aboard the London Merchant arriving at the Kingsland Plantation in 1620
  • Christopher Branch who settled in Virginia in 1624 with his wife Mary and son Thomas
  • Peter Branch, who settled in New England in 1630
  • John Branch, who settled in Virginia in 1639
  • Anthony Branch, who settled in Virginia in 1643
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Branch Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joan Branch, who arrived in Virginia in 1706 [2]
Branch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Johan Georg Branch, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803 [2]
  • F Branch, who arrived in San Francisco California in 1851 [2]
  • Mr. Edward Branch, (b. 1825), aged 26, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Marquis of Chandos" arriving in the United States on 7 June 1851 [3]
  • Mr. Thomas Branch, (b. 1836), aged 15, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Marquis of Chandos" arriving in the United States on 7 June 1851 [3]
  • Franz J Branch, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1872 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Branch Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. John Branch, (b. 1872), aged 31, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 7th November 1903 en route to Manistique, Michigan, USA [4]
  • Mr. William Branch, (b. 1871), aged 34, Cornish farm labourer , from Launceston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to San Diego, California, USa [4]
  • Mr. Ernest Branch, (b. 1902), aged 3, Cornish settler, from Launceston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to San Diego, California, USA [4]
  • Miss Ethel Branch, (b. 1903), aged 2, Cornish settler, from Launceston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to San Diego, California, USA [4]
  • Mrs. Jane Branch, (b. 1872), aged 33, Cornish settler, from Launceston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to San Diego, California, USA [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Branch migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Branch Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Cyril Denzil Branch, aged 26, who immigrated to St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1910
  • Bertha E. Branch, aged 48, who immigrated to Montreal, Quebec, in 1921
  • Charles S. Branch, aged 50, who settled in Montreal, Quebec, in 1921

Australia Branch migration to Australia +

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

Branch Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Branch, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [5]
  • Mr. Pembroke Branch, British Convict who was convicted in Saint Christopher (Saint Kitts) for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [5]
  • Mr. Charles Branch, English convict who was convicted in Norfolk, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Candahar" on 26th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. James Branch, (b. 1809), aged 40, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "Thetis" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 15th February 1849 [7]
  • Mrs. Sarah Branch, (b. 1808), aged 41, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Thetis" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 15th February 1849 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Branch 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. [8]
Branch Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Branch, who settled in Jamaica in 1663

Contemporary Notables of the name Branch (post 1700) +

  • Clifford "Cliff" Branch (1948-2019), American NFL football wide receiver with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders during his entire 14-year career
  • Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820-1862), American Confederate brigadier general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of Antietam
  • Taylor Branch (b. 1947), American journalist who won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize
  • Michelle Branch (b. 1983), American pop musician and singer
  • William Blackwell Branch (b. 1927), American playwright, theatrical director, and movie director
  • Rickey Branch (1881-1965), American baseball manager who integrated the Major Leagues
  • Joseph Branch (1915-1991), American judge, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (1979-1986)
  • Thomas Branch (b. 1753), English author of 'Thoughts on Dreaming' (1738), and ' Principia Legis et Æquitatis' (1753) [9]
  • Frank Richard Branch (1944-2018), Canadian politician, Member of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly for Nepisiguit-Chaleur (1974-1995), Speaker (1987-1991)
  • James Branch Bocock (1884-1946), American football, basketball, and baseball coach

HMS Royal Oak
  • Hal Branch (1908-1939), British Petty Officer Supply with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [10]


Suggested Readings for the name Branch +

  • Cousins by the Dozens by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett.
  • Thomas Taylor and Benjamin Branch of Nashville, Tennessee, and Related Families by Ethel Taylor Ford.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/candahar
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  9. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019
  10. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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