Show ContentsBrannen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Brannen have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as "O Braondin," from the word "braon," which has several meanings, possibly meaning "sorrow" in this case.

Saint Brendan or Brenainn (490?-573), of Birr, "which was so called from the abundance of wells there (birr, birra, water), now Parsonstown, in the King's County. He was son of Neman, a poet, and Mansenna, and belonged to the race of Corb Aulam, great-grandson of Rudhraighe, from whom were the Clanna Rudhraighe. " 1

Another Saint Brendan or Brenainn (484-577), of Clonfert, was born in 484, at Littus li, or Stagnum li, now Tralee, co. Kerry. "He is termed son of Finnloga, to distinguish him from his contemporary, St. Brendan of Birr. " 1

Early Origins of the Brannen family

The surname Brannen was first found in County Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where the family claim descent from Braonan, an Irish Prince, brother of Ceallach, 17th King of Ossory. Braonan later became the King of Ossory, and also King of the Danes of Dublin, and was known as the Prince of Idough. His son, Conglach, in a dispute over the throne of Ossory, was killed near Three Castles, County Kilkenny.

At this point in time, the Brennans were in conflict with Brian Boru (1014), and most historians believe that the family was on the wrong side as allies of the Danish King. After Clontarf, they retained only the principality of Idough, but Anne, daughter of Guidhelgedh, three generations later, married the King of Ossory (Donogh), and the title was still extant even after the Anglo Norman invasion of 1172.

Early History of the Brannen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brannen research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1395, 1520, 1600, 1625, 1693, 1768, 1794, 1830 and 1832 are included under the topic Early Brannen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brannen Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Brannen were encountered in the archives: Brennan, McBrennan, Brannon, Brannan, Brannen, Brannin, Brennyn, Brannyn, MacBrennan, Brenan, Branon, Branan, Branen and many more.

Early Notables of the Brannen family

Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Art O'Brennan of Castlecomer Castle; Most Rev. John Brennan (1625-1693), Bishop of Waterford and Archbishop of Cashel; John Brennan (1768-1830)...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brannen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brannen Ranking

In the United States, the name Brannen is the 9,156th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 2

United States Brannen migration to the United States +

A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Brannen name:

Brannen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • P Brannen, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1852 3
  • Anne Brannen, aged 40, who settled in America from Kerry Co. Ire, in 1892
  • Christopher Brannen, aged 26, who landed in America from Ireland, in 1893
Brannen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Pherick Brannen, aged 25, who landed in America from Sunderland, in 1904
  • Thomas Brannen, aged 22, who landed in America from Sunderland, in 1904
  • Elizabeth Brannen, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from Pendleton, England, in 1907
  • Margaret Brannen, aged 8, who immigrated to the United States from Pendleton, England, in 1907
  • Martin Brannen, aged 56, who landed in America from Cloonfad, Ireland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Brannen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brannen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Brannen, who landed in Canada in 1812
  • James Brannen, aged 17, who arrived in Canada in 1812
Brannen Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Francis A. Brannen, aged 45, who immigrated to Clarks Harbour, Canada, in 1914

Australia Brannen migration to Australia +

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

Brannen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Brannen, (Brennen), (b. 1821), aged 19, Irish shepherd who was convicted in Leitrim, Ireland for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "British Sovereign" on 16th December 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1843 4

Contemporary Notables of the name Brannen (post 1700) +

  • John Brannen (b. 1952), American Roots singer-songwriter
  • James H. Brannen Jr., American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1974 5
  • J. W. Brannen, American Democratic Party politician, Chair of Russell County Democratic Party, 2003 5
  • J. A. Brannen, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1912 5
  • Harvey D. Brannen, American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Bulloch County, 1923-24 5
  • Barney Brannen, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Hampshire 2nd District, 2000 5
  • Jamie Brannen (1975-2022), Canadian curler born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, six-time New Brunswick Tankard champion
  • Julia Brannen FRSA, AcSS, British Professor of the Sociology of the Family at the Institute of Education, University of London
  • Nathan "Nate" Brannen (b. 1982), Canadian silver medalist middle distance runner at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
  • Collin Brannen Cowgill (b. 1986), American Major League Baseball outfielder

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from on Facebook