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2,369,268 BROWN members around the world

Family spelling variants includes Broun, Brun, Broune, Browne

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BROWN Family History

Family spelling variants include Browne, Broune, Brun, Broun.

There are approximately 2,367,380 Brown family members around the world. In general you can double this figure to include those related to the Brown names to allow for those connected to the name through maiden name connections.

It is estimated that the largest group of Brown family members live USA 1,756,746 (74.2%) members, England with 283,740 (12%), Canada with 108,883 (4.6%), Australia with 91,228 (3.9%), South Africa with 47,218 (2%), Scotland with 46,035 (1.9%), Ireland with 13,848 (0.6%), Wales with 11,313 (0.05%) and New Zealand with 8,396 (0.4%). 

The name is an English and Scottish nickname for a person with brown hair or brown complexion, from Middle English personal name brun, Broun (Old English br?n). 

In medieval Nottinghamshire, the surname was interchangeable with Brownson.

From Old French brun ‘brown’ (originally from Continental Germanic). In German, Jewish (Ashkenazic) it is an anglicisation of German Braun or Yiddish bron (Bron). Possibly Old Scandinavian Brúnn or Brúni. 

In Irish and Scottish, it is a relationship name adopted for Ó Duinn (Dunne) or for any of the many Irish and Scottish Gaelic names containing the element donn ‘brown-haired’ (also meaning ‘chieftain’), for example Donohue.

In Irish, the name is a phonetic anglicisation of Mac an Bhreitheamhnaigh (Breheny).

Early bearers of the surname include: Richard Brun, le Brun le mercer 1111–38, about 1140 in Ekwall, ELPN; William le Brun, 1169 in Pipe Rolls (Northants); William Brun, 1182–1205 in Bury Saint Edmunds Kalendar (Suffolk); Hugh Bron, 1274 in Hundred Rolls (Shrops); Agnes Broun, 1296 in Subsidy Rolls (Sussex); John le Browne, 1318 in Feet of Fines (Cambs); Agnes Brown, 1539 in IGI (Watford, Herts); Edmon Brown, 1539 in IGI (Clifford Chambers, Warwicks); John Brown, 1539 in IGI (North Elmham, Norfolk); John Brown, 1539 in IGI (Shorne, Kent); Nicholas Brown, 1539 in IGI (Shobrooke, Devon); John Brown, 1636, Robert Broon, 1678 in IGI (Rippingale, Lincs).

David Brown, an English convict from Kent, was transported aboard the ship "Ann" in August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia.

In 1891 Census, there were 172,021 occurrences of the surname in England and Wales with a further 35,564 occurrences in Scotland.

In 1881 Census, the surname was widespread, especially in Kent, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire. In Nottinghamshire, there were 3,672 occurrences. In the Gloucestershire county, the surname was frequent in the Bristol district with 793 occurrences. Further South, the county of Kent was recorded as a top county for the surname with 5,840 occurrences. 

In 1881, the most common Brown occupation in the UK was Farmer, along with Coal Miner and Agricultural Labourer reported as the top 3 jobs worked by Brown. A less common occupation was Labourer.

The noted, Robert Hanbury Brown, AC FRS (1916 – 2002) was a British astronomer and physicist born in India. He made notable contributions to the development of radar and later conducted pioneering work in the field of radio astronomy.

Louise Joy Brown (b. 25 July 1978) is an English woman who was the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Kent

1881 Census in Gloucestershire

1881 Census in Nottinghamshire

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain


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Roxanne Piche

My family originates from Ballymena, and emigrated to Canada in 1880. My great grandfather was Alexander Brown, married to Margaret Stirling in Ballymena.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Brown name has a long history in Ireland. The Brown story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B2] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Brown surname origin is from Clan Birn from which will emerge surnames Bruen (Brown) [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname (O’)Donnelly, McDonald, Donohue and Hughs from the larger Clan Domnaill in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman inscriptions as Dumnovellaunos in Brittany meaning “Deep Valour” equivalent to Irish Domhnaill. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Brown story begins in pre-history Ireland but relatives will then move to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. A descendant and many of his kin will then move to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit


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