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Irish Surname - Brown or Browne

This surname is common in both England and Ireland, but the variant surname 'Browne' is associated more with Ireland.

Originating from the Olde English, Norse-Viking and Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century word "brun" it generally referred to the colour of the person's hair, complexion or garments.

The Browne family arrived in Ireland in 1170 in Strongbow's time, and were soon established in Galway and Mayo. The surname is still well represented in these two counties and is also one of the legendary 'Tribes of Galway'.

The Galway Brownes (Lords Oranmore) are descendants of a 12th Century Anglo-Norman invader called "Le Brun", while the Brownes of Killarney (Lords Kenmare) are descended from an Elizabethan settler.

Browne is now the 5th most common surname in England and the first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Brun, dated 1169, in the Northumberland county pipe rolls. Interesting early recordings of the surname include Anthony Browne, the 1st Lord Montague (1526 - 1592).

Famous People with the Browne Surname

Amongst the very earliest of settlers to the new colonies of America was Edward Browne, who emigrated from London to Virginia in September 1635. Today Browne is the 6th most popular surname in the United States and the second most common surname among African Americans.

Alternate Surname Spellings for Browne

The Irish Brown families are most commonly found in the province of Connacht (specifically Galway and Mayo), as well as Kerry.

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

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