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


Among the all the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Brathwaite were the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name for someone who lived in any of the places so named in Cumberland or Yorkshire. This place-name derived from the Old Norse words for a broad clearing.

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The surname Brathwaite was first found in Cumberland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Brathwaite has appeared as Brathwaite, Brathwait, Braithwaite, Braithwait and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brathwaite research. Another 251 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1185, 1588 and 1673 are included under the topic Early Brathwaite History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brathwaite Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Brathwaite Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Matthew Brathwaite, who arrived in America in 1760-1763

Brathwaite Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Ann Brathwaite, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia

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  • Stephen Brathwaite (b. 1949), Canadian actor and puppeteer best known for his puppet work in the children's series Under the Umbrella Tree
  • Normand Brathwaite (b. 1958), Quebec comedian, movie and television actor
  • Ryan Brathwaite (b. 1988), Olympic track and field athlete from Barbados
  • Sir Nicholas Alexander Brathwaite (b. 1925), Prime Minister of Grenada from 1983 to 1984 and from 1990 to 1995
  • Fredrick "Fred" Brathwaite (b. 1972), Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender
  • Errol Brathwaite (1924-2005), New Zealand author


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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The Brathwaite Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brathwaite 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 May 2016 at 01:39.

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