Branscomb History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Branscomb name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in Devon, where they held a family seat at Branscombe in the 9th century. Shortly after the Norman Conquest the estates of Branscombe were owned by the Bishop of Exeter and according to the Domesday Book, [1] 150 sheep were part of the holdings contributed to the supplies of the Abbey of Exeter.

Early Origins of the Branscomb family

The surname Branscomb was first found in Devon at Branscombe, a village that dates back to the ninth century. At that time, the village was named Branecescumbe but by the Domesday Book of 1086, it was listed there as Branchescome. The estates of Branscombe were owned by the Bishop of Exeter and the 150 sheep which was part of the holdings contributed to the supplies of the Abbey of Exeter. [1] The place name literally means "valley of a man called Branoc," for the Celtic personal name + the Old English "Cumb." [2] One of the earliest records of the surname was Walter Branscombe (Bronscombe, Branescombe, Bronescombe, Bronescomb c. 1220-1280), born in Exeter, an early English priest, Bishop of Exeter from 1258 to 1280; he is buried in Exeter Castle.

"The church [of Colon, Cornwall] is said to have been erected and endowed by Walter Bronscomb, bishop of Exeter, about the year 1250, and by him appropriated to the Augustine canons of his college of Glaseney near Penryn." [3]

Early History of the Branscomb family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Branscomb research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 132 and 1327 are included under the topic Early Branscomb History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Branscomb Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Branscomb include Brancomb, Bronscombe, Branscom, Bronscom and others.

Early Notables of the Branscomb family (pre 1700)

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


United States Branscomb migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Branscomb or a variant listed above:

Branscomb Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Branscomb, who arrived in Maryland in 1750 [4]

Canada Branscomb migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Branscomb Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Arthur Branscomb U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [5]

West Indies Branscomb 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. [6]
Branscomb Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • James Branscomb who settled in Barbados in 1692

Contemporary Notables of the name Branscomb (post 1700) +

  • Benjamin Franklin Branscomb (1832-1865), American pioneer, eponym of Branscomb, California
  • Lewis M. Branscomb (b. 1926), American physicist, eponym of the Branscomb Antarctic Glacier
  • John Warren Branscomb (1905-1959), American Bishop of the Methodist Church
  • Charles H. Branscomb, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 1856 [7]
  • Anne Wells Branscomb, American computer and communications lawyer, Scholar in Residence at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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