Show ContentsBriel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Briel comes from the Rhineland, an ancient region of Germany. In pre-medieval times, the Germans used only one name, but later they were forced by a growing population to adopt hereditary surnames; so as to remain distinct from the many others of the same first name. Local names were often chosen. They originally indicated land ownership, and frequently carried the prefix von, meaning "of" or "from," which is often taken as an indication of aristocratic lineage. Briel was a name for some one lived in the village of Briel, in the Rhineland. This place-name originated in the Dutch province of Brielle, and it referred to someone who was from Briel. The German surname was based upon the German word brüel which refers to a meadow with rich soils.

Early Origins of the Briel family

The surname Briel was first found in the lower Rhine region, where the name came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging mediaeval society. It later became more prominent as many branches of the same house acquired distant estates and branches, some in foreign countries, always elevating their social status by their great contributions to society. The name originates in the southern Dutch province of Brielle, and the Dutch form of the name is van der Briele, meaning "from Briel."

Early History of the Briel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Briel research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the year 1775 is included under the topic Early Briel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Briel Spelling Variations

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Briel include Briel, Briell, Brielle, Briele, Brieler and others.

Early Notables of the Briel family

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

United States Briel migration to the United States +

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans came to North America, and many Rhinelanders were among them. They had many various reasons for making the choice: to escape poverty and persecution, for adventure, and for the opportunity to own their own land. Ellis Island, one of the main American immigration centers, saw many settlers as they moved on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, they found homes in Ontario, and on the great plains of the Midwestern provinces. The Briel were among of the early German families that came to North America:

Briel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hermann Briel, who settled in Philadelphia in 1754
  • Martin Briel, who settled in Philadelphia in 1754
  • Henry Briel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 [1]
  • Wiegand Briel, who arrived in New York, NY in 1782 [1]
Briel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Christine Briel, who landed in North America in 1832-1849 [1]
  • Conrad Briel, aged 35, who arrived in Missouri in 1843 [1]
  • Eva Briel, who arrived in Texas in 1846
  • Marx Briel, who arrived in Mississippi in 1852 [1]
  • Mathias Briel, who landed in Arkansas in 1894 [1]

Canada Briel migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Briel Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Alexis Briel, who arrived in Quebec in 1665

Contemporary Notables of the name Briel (post 1700) +

  • Georg Briel (1907-1980), German Oberstleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
  • Fritz Briel (b. 1934), German Olympic sprint canoer silver medalist
  • Jonatan Karl Dieter Briel (1942-1988), German director, screenplay author, and actor
  • Lou Briel (b. 1962), Puerto Rican singer, composer, comedian and producer
  • Charles Briel Keppler (b. 1917), American physician specializing in internal medicine

  1. 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) on Facebook