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Origins Available: English, Scottish


Today's generation of the Bruce family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bruce family lived in Normandy. The exact location of the place from which the family name is derived is under dispute, as one may perhaps expect of such a prominent name. The traditional interpretation is that the name is derived from the place-name Brix, in La Manche. It is argued, however, that there is no real evidence in support of this, and that the name is actually derived from the place-name Le Brus, in Calvados. A surname based upon an already existing place-name is called a habitation name.

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The surname Bruce was first found in Yorkshire where early record of the family found them at Middlesbrough, a town and parish, on the river Tees. "This place, at a very early period, had a chapel dedicated to St. Hilda, which, in the reign of Henry I., was granted by Robert de Brus to the monks of Whitby Abbey, on condition of their founding here a cell to that monastery; this condition was fulfilled, and the institution that was established continued to flourish till the Dissolution." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Skelton in the West Riding of Yorkshire held a special significance to the ancient family. "This place was given at the Conquest to Robert de Brus, a Norman Baron who came over with William, and who erected a castle here, of which scarcely any vestiges remain, the whole having been modernised in 1794. From this baron descended some of the kings of Scotland, and the present family of Bruce, marquesses of Ailesbury. The ancient manor [of Skinningrove] belonged to the Bruces, lords of Skelton, and came by marriage to the Thwengs, of Kilton." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

In the North Riding of Yorkshire at Liverton, other early records of the family were found. "This place, which at the time of the Domesday Survey was a barren and unprofitable waste, was granted by the Conqueror to Robert de Brus, lord of Skelton." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Robert I de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale (c.1070-1142) was the first of the Bruce family to hold lands in Scotland. He founded Gisborough Priory in Yorkshire, in present-day Redcar and Cleveland, in 1119. Close friends with David FitzMalcolm, later known as King David I of Scotland, he was granted extensive lands in he Cotentin Peninsula c. 1120.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Bruce include Bruce, Brus (Gaelic), Bruys, Bruse and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bruce research. Another 345 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1274, 1329 and are included under the topic Early Bruce History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Robert Bruce (1274-1329), King of Scotland. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. His embalmed...

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bruce Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Bruce family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Bruces to arrive on North American shores:

Bruce Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Bruce, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Sarah Bruce, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1643
  • Richard Bruce who landed in Virginia in 1650
  • Richard Bruce settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Phill Bruce, who landed in Virginia in 1664
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Bruce Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Bruce who settled in Virginia in 1716
  • James Bruce settled in South Carolina in 1716
  • Alexander Bruce who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • James Bruce who landed in South Carolina in 1716
  • Alexander Bruce, who landed in New York in 1746
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Bruce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Dinah Bruce, aged 30, arrived in Alexandria, Va in 1801
  • Eliz Bruce, aged 26, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Thomas Bruce, who landed in America in 1803
  • Barwick Bruce, who arrived in Hartford, Conn in 1806
  • Robert Bruce, who landed in America in 1806
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Bruce Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Bruce, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • James Bruce, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Bruce, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Alnanwer Bruce U.E. who settled in Cornwall, Ontario c. 1783 [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
    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
  • Mr. David Bruce U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
    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
  • ...

Bruce Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Bruce, aged 60, arrived in Churchill Factory, Canada in 1813
  • Catherine Bruce, aged 33, landed in Canada in 1815
  • John Bruce, who arrived in Canada in 1817
  • George Bruce, who arrived in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Bruce Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Bruce, a blacksmith, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Bruce landed in Sydney, Australia in 1836
  • Douglas Bruce arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840
  • Mary Ann Bruce arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840
  • Charlotte Mary Morgan Bruce arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840
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Bruce Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Charles Bruce landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Peter Bruce landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Lady Nugent
  • Peter Bruce, aged 23, a sawyer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • Helen Bruce, aged 22, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • Thomas Bruce, aged 33, a sawyer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "New Zealand" in 1842
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  • John Bruce (1832-1901), American politician, U.S. District Judge for Alabama, 1875-1901
  • Lieutenant-General Andrew Davis Bruce (1894-1969), American Commandant Armed Forces Staff College (1951-1954)
  • David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce (1898-1977), American diplomat who served as Ambassador to France, the Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Thaddeus C. Bruce, American politician, Member of Connecticut State Senate 21st District, 1842
  • William Bruce, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maine, 1960
  • William Cabell Bruce (1860-1946), American Democrat politician, Member of Maryland State Senate, 1894-96; U.S. Senator from Maryland, 1923-29
  • William G. Bruce, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 1924
  • William W. Bruce, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Illinois, 1908
  • Charles Bruce, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1900
  • Charles Bruce, American politician, Postmaster at Darlington Court House, South Carolina, 1809-10
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Bruce Historic Events



HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. William Bruce, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. James Bruce, British Canteen Assistant, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. James Joseph Bruce, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
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  • Alexander Bruce of Southside Virginia and Some of His Descendants by June A. Bruce Stubbs.
  • The Ancestry and Descendants of Robert Bruce and Catherine Cearley by Lawrence Little.
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Citations



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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

Other References

  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Bruce Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bruce Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 August 2016 at 16:11.

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