The Irish name O'Breen has evolved from the Gaelic Mac Braoin or O Braoin.
Early Origins of the O'Breen family
The surname O'Breen was first found in County Kilkenny
(Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland
in the province of Leinster
, where the family is descended through the Heremon
line and claim to be direct descendants of King Niall of the Nine Hostages. They were known as the Lords of Brawney CITATION[CLOSE]
O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
and were an Ossory
sept (Clann) seated near Knocktopher, Kilkenny
, until they had to forfeit their lands by the Anglo Norman invasion
, Earl of Pembroke in 1172. They were subsequently dispersed throughout Ireland.
Early History of the O'Breen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Breen research.Another 369 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1303, 1324, 1560 and 1625 are included under the topic Early O'Breen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Breen Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations
for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name O'Breen were encountered in the archives: Breen, Breene, Brean, Breane, Bruen, Brawney, O'Breen, O'Braoin and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Breen family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Breen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Breen family to the New World and Oceana
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the O'Breen family came to North America quite early: Francis Breen, who was on record in Delaware in 1812; John Breene who settled in New York in 1803; Alice Breen, who sailed from Londonderry
to Philadelphia in 1847.
The O'Breen 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: Comnac an Ceane
Motto Translation: Fight for Right