Brett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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]

Early Origins of the Brett family

The surname Brett was 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 à Becket) in 1170.

Walter Brit, Brytte or Brithus ( fl. 1390), "was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and the reputed author of several works on astronomy and mathematics, as well as of a treatise on surgery. "

"Brit is no doubt identical with the Walter Brute, a layman of the diocese of Hereford, whose trial before Bishop John Trevenant of Hereford in 1391 is related at great length by Foxe (Acts and Monuments, i. 620-54, 8th ed. 1641). Foxe prints the articles of heresy with which Brute was charged, the speech in which he defended himself, and his ultimate submission of his opinions to the determination of the church. " [4]

Over in Dorset in the parish of Holwell, another branch of the family was found. "Here stood the principal lodge of the ancient forest of Blackmore, which William de Bret and his successors held by service as the king's forester in Blackmore; the office became extinct when the district was disafforested." [5]

Early History of the Brett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brett research. Another 39 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1677, 1653, 1560, 1637, 1587, 1674, 1640, 1644, 1667, 1743, 1724, 1309 and 1317 are included under the topic Early Brett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brett Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Brett family (pre 1700)

Notable of this family during the Middle Ages was Hugo Britt or Brett of Samford; Arthur Brett (d. 1677?), an English poet. He is believed to have been " 'descended of a genteel family.' Having been a scholar of Westminster, he was elected to a studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1653. [4] Richard Brett (1560?-1637), was a learned divine who was descended from a family which had been settled at Whitestanton, Somersetshire, in the time of Henry I. Henry Brett (c.1587-1674), was an English politician who sat...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Brett family to Ireland

Some of the Brett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Brett migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • James Brett, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Alex Brett, who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Alex Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [6]
  • William Brett, who landed in New England in 1645 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Brett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Susanna Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1711 [6]
  • John Brett, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Timothy Brett, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [6]
  • Matthias Brett, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [6]
Brett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert R Brett, aged 53, who landed in New York in 1806 [6]
  • Edmund Brett, aged 37, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Richard Brett, who landed in New York, NY in 1817 [6]
  • R S Brett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • Martin Brett, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1854 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Brett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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
  • Margaret 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
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Brett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Bridget Brett, aged 4 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "John Bolton" departing 13th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 10th June 1847 but she died on board [7]
  • Mr. Edward Brett, aged 11 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "John Bolton" departing 13th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 10th June 1847 but he died on board [7]
  • Miss. Mary Brett, aged 3 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Jane Avery" departing 9th May 1847 from Dublin, Ireland; the ship arrived on 25th June 1847 but she died on board [7]

Australia Brett migration to Australia +

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

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, Australia [8]
  • William Arthur Brett, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Miss. Mary Ann Brett, British Convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 9th March 1847, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Cass Brett, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Susannah" in 1849 [11]
  • Charles Brett, aged 60, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Brett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Brett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Brett, (b. 1820), aged 21, British lawyer travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • Captian Brett, British settler, from the 43rd Regiment travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of the Deep" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1854 [13]
  • Mr. Daniel Brett, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "British Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 30th August 1859 [14]
  • Mrs. Catherine Brett, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "British Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 30th August 1859 [14]
  • Mrs. Mary Brett, (b. 1836), aged 24, Irish settler from County Cork travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Brett (post 1700) +

  • 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) [15]
  • Lieutenant-General George Howard Brett (1886-1963), American Commanding General of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific (1942) [16]
  • George J. Brett, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Pennsylvania State Treasurer, 1960 [17]
  • George H. Brett, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oklahoma, 1912 [17]
  • George Brett, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1920, 1924 [17]
  • Ezra C. Brett, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maine, 1868 [17]
  • Dwight L. Brett, American politician, Mayor of St. Augustine, Florida, 1951, 1955 [17]
  • Derek Brett, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 2004 [17]
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Benjamin A Brett (b. 1918), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Farnham, Surrey, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [18]


  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)
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 66)
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1847
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUSANNAH 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Susannah.htm
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Sultana.htm
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Sereno Brett. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Brett/Sereno_Elmer/USA.html
  16. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) George Brett. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Brett/George_Howard/USA.html
  17. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  18. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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