Brean History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Brean has evolved from the Gaelic Mac Braoin or O Braoin.

Early Origins of the Brean family

The surname Brean 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 is descended through the Heremon line and claim to be direct descendants of King Niall of the Nine Hostages. They were known as the Lords of Brawney [1] and were an Ossory sept (Clann) seated near Knocktopher, Kilkenny, until they had to forfeit their lands by the Anglo Norman invasion of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke in 1172. They were subsequently dispersed throughout Ireland.

Early History of the Brean family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brean research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1303, 1324, 1560 and 1625 are included under the topic Early Brean History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brean Spelling Variations

Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Brean revealed many variations, including Breen, Breene, Brean, Breane, Bruen, Brawney, O'Breen, O'Braoin and many more.

Early Notables of the Brean family (pre 1700)

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brean Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Brean family

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Brean family in North America: Francis Breen, who was on record in Delaware in 1812; John Breene who settled in New York in 1803; Alice Breen, who sailed from Londonderry to Philadelphia in 1847.


Contemporary Notables of the name Brean (post 1700) +

  • Herbert Brean (1907-1973), American journalist and crime fiction writer


The Brean Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Comnac an Ceane
Motto Translation: Fight for Right


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)


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