Show ContentsBreckenridge History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Breckenridge was first used in the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It indicates that the first bearer lived in the places named Brackenrig, in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. [1] This place name comes from the Northern Old English words, bracken and rigg (ridge). So, Breckenridge literally means "dweller by the bracken-covered bridge." [2] Bracken is a large fern which typically grows in moorland and is found on all continents except Antarctica and in all environments except deserts.

Early Origins of the Breckenridge family

The surname Breckenridge was first found in Lanarkshire, and Ayrshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. In 1454, two records were found of the family: the yard of John of Bracanyyggis in Glasgow; and Johannes Brakanryg was sergeant of the upper baronie of Renffrew. A few years later, Robart Brakenrig witnessed a letter of reversion in 1504. [1]

While the Breckenridge family typically claim Scotland as their homeland, as one would expect northern England is also a place the family calls home. Cumbria (Cumberland) just south of the Scottish border included a listing of Nicholas de Bracanrig in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332. "There are five places named Brackenrigg in Cumberland and one in Lanarkshire [Scotland]. " [2]

Early History of the Breckenridge family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Breckenridge research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1454, 1454, 1748 and 1816 are included under the topic Early Breckenridge History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Breckenridge Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Breckenridge has been spelled Brackenridge, Brachenridge, Brakenbury, Brackenrige, Brachenrige, Brecenrigg, Brecenrig, Breckinridge, Breckinrige, Breckinrigg, Breconrig, Breconrigg, Breckenrig, Breckenrigg, Braikinrigg, Braikinrig, Braikinridge and many more.

Early Notables of the Breckenridge family (pre 1700)

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

Breckenridge Ranking

In the United States, the name Breckenridge is the 5,966th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Breckenridge family to Ireland

Some of the Breckenridge family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Breckenridge migration to the United States +

Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Breckenridge or a variant listed above:

Breckenridge Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Breckenridge, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1728 [4]
  • George Robert Breckenridge, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [4]
  • John Breckenridge, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [4]
  • Letitia Breckenridge, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [4]
  • Smith Breckenridge, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [4]
Breckenridge Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Dunlop Breckenridge, who arrived in New York in 1837 [4]
  • James Miller Breckenridge, who arrived in Michigan in 1899 [4]

Australia Breckenridge migration to Australia +

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

Breckenridge Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Breckenridge, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for life, transported aboard the "Eden" on 27th August 1836, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Breckenridge (post 1700) +

  • Carol A. Breckenridge (1942-2009), American anthropologist and Associate Professor of History
  • Riley Breckenridge (b. 1975), American drummer with Thrice; older brother of Eddie Breckenridge
  • Patricia Breckenridge, American Judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri
  • Michael Breckenridge, American actor, musician, humorist and artist
  • Lisa Breckenridge, American TV reporter
  • Laura Breckenridge (b. 1983), American actress
  • Jody A. Breckenridge, American Coast Guard Rear Admiral
  • Eddie Breckenridge (b. 1975), American bassist with Thrice; younger brother of Riley Breckenridge
  • Donald Breckenridge (1932-2005), American hotel chain founder and president
  • Alex Breckenridge (b. 1982), American film and television actress
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Breckenridge 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: Virtute et industria
Motto Translation: By valour and industry.

  1. 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)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook