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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German

Where did the English Brett family come from? What is the English Brett family crest and coat of arms? When did the Brett family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Brett family history?

The name Brett arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Brett family lived in Brittany. The surname Brett is based upon the Old French word Bret, nominally Brito the nominative case of the word Breton which meant a Breton. "The Domesday Book abounds with Brito as a surname. No less than seven persons bearing it were tenants in chief in many counties." [1]

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A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Brett, Britt, Bret, Brit and others.

First found in Somerset at Samford (Sampford) Brett, a village and civil parish which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was listed simply as Sanford. [2] By 1306, the village was known as Saunford Bret. [3] This was the lordship of Hugo Brito, (Sir Richard le Breton or Richard de Brito), son of Simon le Bret or Simon Brito, one of the four knights who murdered Saint Thomas Becket (Thomas Becket) in 1170.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brett research. Another 77 words(6 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1677, 1587, 1674, 1640 and 1644 are included under the topic Early Brett History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 79 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Brett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 57 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Brett or a variant listed above:

Brett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Isabel Brett settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • James Brett, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Alex Brett settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Alex Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • William Brett, who landed in New England in 1645


Brett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Susanna Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • John Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Timothy Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
  • Matthias Brett, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766

Brett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Robert R Brett, aged 53, landed in New York in 1806
  • Edmund Brett, aged 37, landed in New York in 1812
  • Richard Brett, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • R S Brett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Martin Brett, aged 18, landed in New York in 1854


Brett Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Hanah Brett, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Brett, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Margt Brett, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Peter Brett, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Phoebe Brett, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750


Brett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Brett, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Arthur Brett, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Cass Brett arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Susannah" in 1849
  • Charles Brett, aged 60, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851
  • Alice Brett, aged 55, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851


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  • Kenneth Alven "Kemer" Brett (1948-2003), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • George Brett (b. 1953), American Hall of Fame third baseman
  • Brigadier-General Sereno Elmer Brett (1891-1952), American Commanding General 5th Armored Division (1942-1943)
  • Lieutenant-General George Howard Brett (1886-1963), American Commanding General of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific (1942)
  • Raymond Brett, English Professor of English at the University of Hull
  • Sir Lionel Brett (1919-1990), English (Belfast born) judge, who became a Justice on the Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1958
  • Laurie Brett (b. 1969), Scottish actress, best known for her role in EastEnders
  • Stephen Brett (b. 1985), New Zealand rugby union player
  • The Right Honourable William Baliol Brett PC, QC (1817-1899), 1st Viscount Esher, British lawyer, judge and Conservative politician
  • Reginald Baliol Brett (1852-1930), second Viscount of Esher


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. 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. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Brett Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brett 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 14 July 2015 at 10:30.

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