Bridger History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Bridger emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Bridger family originally lived near a bridge. The surname is derived from the Old English word brycg, which means bridge, and was sometimes also applied as an occupational name to a bridge-keeper. [1] The name Bridger is occasionally derived from residence in Bruges, a town in Flanders.

Early Origins of the Bridger family

The surname Bridger was first found in Somerset where there is evidence of a family of this name from Bruges of Flemish origin. These Bruges, or Bridges settled mostly in the south west counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and later Hereford. One of the first listings of the name was of Robert atte Brugge and William atte Brugge who resided in Gloucester during the reign of King Edward III (1327-until his death.)

Gilbert atte Brigge was listed in Surrey in 1272 and later the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire include and entry for Nicholas de la Brugge. William ater Bregg was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296 and in Suffolk, Roger del Brigge was listed there in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. The Curia Regis Rolls for Oxfordshire include an entry for William de Bruges, de Brieges in 1205. [2]

Walter le Briggere was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Somerset in 1327 and Walter Bregger was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. John Bruger was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls for Surrey in 1332. John le Bruggere, also called John de Ponte lived at Bridge End in Ockham Surrey in 1294. [2] Ponte is the French word meaning "bridge."

Years later, Giles Bruges (Brydges) had his manor of Archer-Stoke in Gloucestershire seized during the reign of King Edward IV (1461-1470.) [3]

Another branch of the family was found at Horton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "At a short distance from the Hall, is the seat of Francis Sharp Bridges, Esq., a descendant from a younger branch of the same family, who were zealous adherents of the royal cause in the civil war, and of whom John Sharp was severely wounded in an engagement with the parliamentarian forces." [4]

In Scotland, the family's arrival there was much later as John Bridge was listed in Drum, 1658, and John Brig in Drum, 1691. "Throughout the country Brigg is in common speech the pronunciation of Bridge. Duncanus Brigis appears in Murthlac, Banffshire, 1550." [5]

Early History of the Bridger family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bridger research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1378, 1427, 1493, 1462, 1511, 1497, 1491, 1557, 1548, 1594, 1578, 1617, 1552, 1602, 1620, 1655, 1642, 1714, 1564, 1639, 1714, 1682, 1683, 1683, 1685, 1702, 1714, 1595, 1564, 1639, 1614, 1621, 1624, 1625, 1626, 1628 and 1646 are included under the topic Early Bridger History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bridger Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Bridge, Bridges, Briddge and others.

Early Notables of the Bridger family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Simon de Brugge, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1378; Thomas Brugge, de jure 5th Baron Chandos (1427-1493) an English peer; Giles Brugge of Cubberley, 6th Baron Chandos (c. 1462-1511), English soldier, knighted for his actions at the Battle of Blackheath (1497); his son, John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos (1491-1557), an English Member of Parliament and later peer; Giles Brydges, 3rd Baron Chandos of Sudeley (c. 1548-1594), an English courtier; Elizabeth Brydges (1578-1617), Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I; William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos (c. 1552-1602), an English peer and politician, Lord Lieutenant of...
Another 122 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bridger Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bridger Ranking

In the United States, the name Bridger is the 17,426th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Bridger is ranked the 612nd most popular surname with an estimated 74 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Bridger family to Ireland

Some of the Bridger family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 48 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 Bridger migration to the United States +

Early records show that people bearing the name Bridger arrived in North America quite early:

Bridger Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • General Joseph Bridger who settled in Virginia in 1654 from Gloucester, Gloucestershire
  • Joseph Bridger, who landed in Maryland or Virginia in 1660 [8]
  • James Bridger, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [8]
  • Josep Bridger, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [8]
Bridger Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Law Bridger, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [8]
  • Sarah Bridger, who landed in Virginia in 1711 [8]
  • William Bridger, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [8]
  • William Bridger, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [8]
Bridger Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Bridger, who arrived in New York in 1834 [8]
  • John Bridger, who arrived in Virginia in 1887 [8]

Canada Bridger migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bridger Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

Australia Bridger migration to Australia +

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

Bridger Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Bridger, English convict who was convicted in Kingston upon Thames, London, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [10]
  • William Bridger (aged 22), a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"

New Zealand Bridger 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:

Bridger Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Bridger, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]
  • Eliza Ann Bridger, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]
  • James F. Bridger, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]
  • Fanny R. Bridger, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]
  • Laura Bridger, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bridger (post 1700) +

  • Aaron Bridger (1918-2003), American jazz pianist
  • Bobby Bridger (b. 1945), born Robert Durham, American singer and songwriter
  • John D. Bridger (1922-2006), American football coach and college athletics administrator
  • James Felix "Jim" Bridger (1804-1881), American mountain man, trapper, scout and guide who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1850
  • Samuel Bridger (b. 1777), English professional cricketer in the late 18th century
  • Lewis Bridger (b. 1989), English motorcycle racer
  • Harry Bridger, English professional cricketer in the late 18th century
  • Reverend John Richard Bridger (1920-1986), English cricketer
  • Deonne Bridger (b. 1972), Australian archer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and 2004 Athens Olympic Games
  • Jay Bridger (b. 1987), British racing driver
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Bridger 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: Je garderay
Motto Translation: I watch over.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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