Brisbane History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Dalriadan kingdom consisted of the Hebrides islands, and the rugged mountains of Scotland west coast. The name Brisbane began in this region; it was a nickname for a person who had sustained a broken bone. This surname derived from the Old French word, briser, which means to break, and the Old English word, bàn, which means bone. This was also a nickname, given to a person who was often involved in fights, which resulted in the breaking of bones. Members of the Brisbane family were found in the county of Renfrew (now part of the Strathclyde region), in Scotland, where the family can trace its origin to shortly after the Norman Conquest, in 1066.

Early Origins of the Brisbane family

The surname Brisbane was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland. Probably the first of the name in Scotland was William Brisbone, whose name appears on a list of archers sent from Berwick to Roxburgh in 1298. Thomas Brisbane or de Birsbane had a charter in Aberdeenshire from Robert I. [1]

Early History of the Brisbane family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brisbane research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1332 and 1706 are included under the topic Early Brisbane History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brisbane Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Brisbane has been spelled Brisbane, Brisbine, Birsbain, Birsbaine, Brisblane, Birsben, Brisbin, Birsban and many more.

Early Notables of the Brisbane family (pre 1700)

Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brisbane Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Brisbane migration to the United States +

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The Brisbane were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Brisbane Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Brisbane with two children who landed in New Orleans in 1822

Australia Brisbane migration to Australia +

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

Brisbane Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Brisbane, aged 20, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Henry Moore"
  • Matilda Brisbane, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Schah Jehan"

New Zealand Brisbane 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:

Brisbane Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Brisbane, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Jane Brisbane, aged 28, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Janet Brisbane, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Mary Brisbane, aged 2, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • William Brisbane, aged 7 mths., who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name Brisbane (post 1700) +

  • Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936), American newspaper editor
  • Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), American social reformer
  • William Brisbane, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 16th District, 1867, 1871 [2]
  • Charles Brisbane, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 5th District, 2004 [2]
  • John Brisbane (b. 1776), Scottish physician who graduated M.D. at Edinburgh in 1750
  • Sir Thomas MacDougall Brisbane (1773-1860), British soldier and astronomer, promoted to Major-General in 1813, Governor of New South Wales (1821-25), eponym of Brisbane, Queensland [3]
  • Captain Sir James Brisbane (1774-1826), British naval officer, fifth son of Admiral John Brisbane, and brother of Rear-admiral Sir Charles Brisbane [3]
  • Admiral Sir Charles Brisbane (1769-1829), British naval officer, fourth son of Admiral John Brisbane, who died 1807

The Brisbane 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: Certamine summo
Motto Translation: In the battle's height.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from
  3. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019 on Facebook
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