Show ContentsBrightman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon surname Brightman came from the baptismal name Brichtman. As the naming tradition grew in Europe baptismal names began to be introduced in many countries. Baptismal names were sometimes given in honor of Christian saints and other biblical figures. There are very few Christian countries in Europe that did not adopt surnames from these religious figures.

Early Origins of the Brightman family

The surname Brightman was first found in Suffolk, where the name first appeared in the Domesday Book where a Saxon landholder "Brihtmanus" [1] was listed. Early in the history of the family, they branched to nearby Norfolk, where John Brithman was registered in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [2] The Subsidy Rolls of Essex in 1327 list Robert Brightman [3]

Early History of the Brightman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brightman research. Another 217 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1327, 1327, 1377, 1349, 1369, 1501, 1562, 1753, 1755, 1562, 1607, 1576, 1584 and 1607 are included under the topic Early Brightman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brightman Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore,spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Brightman has been recorded under many different variations, including Brightman, Briteman, Brihtman, Bryteman, Brihtmanus and many more.

Early Notables of the Brightman family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Thomas Brightman (1562-1607), English clergyman and biblical scholar. Born at Nottingham, he was admitted a pensioner at Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1576, and later became fellow in 1584. "His desire was to die a sudden death. Riding on a coach with Sir John Osborne...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brightman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Brightman migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Brightman or a variant listed above:

Brightman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Brightman, who sailed to Virginia in 1637
  • Hen Brightman, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [4]
Brightman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Brightman, who landed in New York, NY in 1834 [4]
  • A W Brightman, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [4]

Canada Brightman migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brightman Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • George Brightman, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760

Australia Brightman migration to Australia +

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

Brightman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Brightman (post 1700) +

  • Alexander Michael Brightman (b. 1987), American two-time Tony award nominated actor, singer, and writer, best known for his title character role in Beetlejuice the Musical
  • Jerry Brightman (b. 1953), American steel guitarist
  • Edgar Sheffield Brightman (1884-1953), American philosopher of religion
  • William E. Brightman, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Representative from Rhode Island 1st District, 1914 [6]
  • John Anson Brightman, English barrister and judge, made Baron Brightman of Ibthorpe, Southampton in 1982
  • Sarah Brightman (b. 1960), English classical crossover soprano, actress and dancer who has received over 150 Gold and Platinum awards in 34 countries

HMS Royal Oak
  • George Ronald Brightman (1904-1939), British Petty Officer Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [7]

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. 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)
  5. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anna Maria voyage to Van Diemen's Land or Port Phillip, Australia in 1848 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from
  7. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook