Posted by on 8 October 2012 in General, Guest Bloggers, What's in a name?

Authored by Janet Few.  Janet is a community historian and an historical interpreter, specialising in the C17th. Her book on C17th social history, ‘Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs’, has recently been published. She is also the historian for the Braund Family History Society and a member of The Guild of One-Name Studies, See her website.

BRAUND It is a commonly expressed myth that the Braunds, noted for their dark hair, broad heads and brown eyes, owed their existence to local women who married survivors of a Spanish Armada ship, wrecked on the north Devon coast over four hundred years ago. Documentary evidence shows that there is no truth in this story, despite it being first published in national newspapers in the 1920s and again at intervals ever since. Braunds lived in Devon villages a century before the time of the Spanish Armada and elsewhere in England before that.

The name Braund began as a personal name and together with its variants Brand and Brandr, it is thought to mean ‘firebrand’. It therefore falls into the group of surnames that are based on nicknames or personality traits. There are C11th-C14th references to the name in Lincolnshire, which appear to be Viking in origin. From 1400 onwards almost all Braund families can be traced back to the south west of England, particularly north Devon or eastern Cornwall. As yet the Lincolnshire Braunds, who do not survive into the C16th, cannot be linked to those in Devon. We believe the west country Braunds share a common ancestry but the records required to prove this have not survived. A DNA project is helping us to understand how the different branches of the Braund family may be linked.

Braunds that left the west country went principally to Bristol, Birmingham, Cramlington, Northumberland and the London area. Amongst the emigrant Braunds, those who went to Port Hope, Ontario; Juneau County, Wisconsin; Du Bois, Pennsylvania and Prospect and Armidale in Australia all established significant Braund colonies.

Illustrious members of the Braund family include: Captain James Braund ‘King’ of Bucks Mills, Mary Braund, a first fleet convict who escaped in an open boat to Timor Island; Leonard Charles Braund the England cricketer; George Braund the conjuror; John Braund who designed furniture for royal residences; William and Thomas Braund who fought at Trafalgar; Lewis and Owen Braund who perished with the Titanic and William Braund the East India Company merchant. We are however just as proud of our ‘ordinary’ Braund ancestors, many of whom were agricultural labourers or fishermen.

Leonard Charles Braund England Cricketer

The Braund Society, which was formed in 1982, collect and collate all instances of the surname Braund worldwide and the name is registered with The Guild of One-Name Studies. For more information.

Janet Few and Christopher Braund are researching all occurrences of the surname Braund worldwide with The Guild of One-Name Studies Studying a surname and identifying its roots and distribution can be particularly helpful in tracking down people who have migrated overseas and finding the right person from multiple candidates.

About Emma

Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.