Show ContentsBrann History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Brann is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Brann 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 Brann family

The surname Brann 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 Brann family

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

Brann 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 Brann family (pre 1700)

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

Brann Ranking

In the United States, the name Brann is the 5,886th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

Migration of the Brann family

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 Brann or a variant listed above: Elizabeth Brain who settled in New England in 1754; Richard Braine settled in Virginia in 1653; John Braine settled in Virginia in 1654; Robert Brayne settled in New England in 1663..

Contemporary Notables of the name Brann (post 1700) +

  • William Cowper Brann (1855-1898), American journalist, known as Brann the Iconoclast
  • Erik Keith Brann (1950-2003), American guitarist with the rock band Iron Butterfly
  • Major-General Donald W. Brann (1895-1945), American Deputy Chief of Staff 15th Army Group, Italy (1944-1945) [7]
  • Scott R. Brann, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 136th District, 2006 [8]
  • Matthew Brann, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 2008 [8]
  • Louis Jefferson Brann (1876-1948), American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Lewiston, Maine, 1915-17, 1922-25; Governor of Maine, 1933-37; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Maine, 1936, 1940 [8]
  • Joy Brann, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Hawaii, 2004 [8]
  • Erich J. Brann, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 22nd District, 1976 [8]
  • Matt Brann (b. 1980), Canadian drummer for Canadian icon Avril Lavigne

  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Donald Brann. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from on Facebook