Briggs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The English surname Briggs derives from the Old Norse word "bryggja." It is the Northern English form of the word bridge. [1] [2] Brig(g) is "the northern [England] and Scottish word for bridge." [3]

Early Origins of the Briggs family

The surname Briggs was first found in the Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus, King John where the personal name Brig and de Brug occur. [4]

Later in Yorkshire, Robert del Brig was listed there at Wakefield in 1275. [3] Later in Cumberland, Alexander del Brigg was registered in the Subsidy Rolls of 1332. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Hugh ate Brugge and Roger ate Brugge in Oxfordshire while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Juliana del Bryg, Robertus atte Brig and Ricardus atte Brygg. [5]

Between the 11th and 15th century there were numerous recordings of various members of the family name as they flourished in the north and into Scotland. "Duncanus Brigis appears in Murthlac, Banffshire, 1550 and Catherine Brigs was married in Edinburgh, 1611." [6]

Early History of the Briggs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Briggs research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1382, 1504, 1628, 1633, 1684, 1561, 1630, 1560, 1642, 1704, 1668, 1670, 1676, 1677, 1682 and are included under the topic Early Briggs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Briggs Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Brigg, Briggs, Brigge and others.

Early Notables of the Briggs family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Henry Briggs (c. 1561-1630), an English mathematician, who developed long division and popularized common logarithms, eponym of the Briggs lunar crater and Briggsian logarithms. He "was born at Warley Wood, in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, in February 1560, according to the entry in the Halifax parish register. Briggs was 'descended from the ancient family of that name at Salle in Norfolk.' There is evidence that Richard Briggs, the brother of Henry Briggs, became sub-master and afterwards head-master of Norfolk school. " [7] William Briggs (1642-1704), was an English physician and oculist...
Another 126 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Briggs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Briggs World Ranking

In the United States, the name Briggs is the 438th most popular surname with an estimated 64,662 people with that name. [8] However, in Australia, the name Briggs is ranked the 346th most popular surname with an estimated 10,459 people with that name. [9] And in New Zealand, the name Briggs is the 621st popular surname with an estimated 1,151 people with that name. [10] The United Kingdom ranks Briggs as 315th with 19,395 people. [11]

Ireland Migration of the Briggs family to Ireland

Some of the Briggs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Briggs migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Briggs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Clement Briggs who settled in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621
  • Clement Briggs, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 [12]
  • Seth Briggs, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Briggs, aged 20, who arrived in New England in 1635 [12]
  • John Briggs, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Briggs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hen Briggs, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [12]
  • Robert Briggs, who landed in North Carolina in 1768 [12]
Briggs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Maria Briggs, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [12]
  • Abraham Briggs, who arrived in America in 1819 [12]
  • Mr. Briggs, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [12]
  • A Briggs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [12]
  • A C Briggs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Briggs migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Briggs Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Briggs, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Thomas Briggs, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. Abiel Briggs U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [13]
  • Mr. John Briggs U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [13]

Australia Briggs migration to Australia +

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

Briggs Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Briggs, British Convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Thomas Briggs, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [15]
  • Mr. Thomas Briggs, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the " Dunvegan Castle" on 13th March 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [16]
  • Mr. Robert Briggs, (b. 1808), aged 22, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [17]
  • James Briggs, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Briggs 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:

Briggs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Briggs, aged 23, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Emma Briggs, aged 23, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • G Briggs, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842
  • Martha Briggs, aged 38, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Mr. Briggs, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "John Phillips" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in April 1852 [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Briggs migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [20]
Briggs Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • James Briggs, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635
  • Thomas Briggs, who settled in Barbados in 1660

Contemporary Notables of the name Briggs (post 1700) +

  • James Frankland Briggs (1827-1905), American politician, U.S. Representative from New Hampshire (1877-1883)
  • Frank Parks Briggs (1894-1992), American politician, United States Senator from Missouri (1945-1947)
  • Frank Obadiah Briggs (1851-1913), American politician, United States Senator from New Jersey (1907-1913)
  • Frank A. Briggs (1858-1898), American Republican politician, 5th Governor of North Dakota (1897-1898) [21]
  • Clare A. Briggs (1875-1930), early American comic strip artist, best known for his strip A. Piker Clerk created in 1904, and later his strip Danny Dreamer, a regular in the Chicago Sunday Tribune
  • Charles Frederick "C.F." Briggs (1804-1877), American journalist, author and editor
  • William John "Bill" Briggs (b. 1943), American NFL football defensive end for the Washington Redskins (1966-1967)
  • Ansel Briggs (1806-1881), American politician, the 1st Governor of Iowa, from 1846 to 1850
  • Brigadier-General Raymond Westcott Briggs (1878-1959), American Commandant St. Thomas Military Academy (1943-1947) [22]
  • Lyman James Briggs (1874-1963), American administrator, physicist, and agricultural scientist
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Thomas  Briggs, Canadian resident from Portage, New Brunswick, Canada who died in the explosion [23]


The Briggs 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: Fortiter et Fideliter
Motto Translation: Boldly and faithfully.


Suggested Readings for the name Briggs +

  • A Harkrader-Hathaway (including the Briggs Family) history by Charles Briggs Hathaway.
  • John Briggs of Sandwich, Massachusetts and His Descendants by Edna Anne Hannibal.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  11. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  12. ^ 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)
  13. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  15. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1824 with 9 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1824
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dunvegan-castle
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  19. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2013, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  22. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Raymond Briggs. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Briggs/Raymond_Westcott/USA.html
  23. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance


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