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BROWN - Name Meaning & Origin


BROWN Surname Meaning & Origin:

Brown is generally a descriptive surname (nickname) referring to the color of the individual's complexion, color of hair, or garments, from the Middle English br(o)un, from Old English or Old French brun, meaning "brown." As a Scottish or Irish name, Brown may also be a translation of the Gaelic donn for "brown."

Brown is the 6th most popular surname in the United States and the 5th most common in England. The variant surname, Browne, is also common in England and Ireland.

Surname Origin:

Alternate Surname Spellings:


Fun Facts About the Brown Surname:

Brown is the second most common surname among African Americans in the United States. Some freed slaves adopted the surname Brown following the Civil War for the obvious reason that it described their appearance, but there were also many who adopted the surname Brown in honor of abolitionist John Brown, as well as for other reasons.

Some Early BROWN Ancestors:

  • John Brown - born abt. 1312, Of, Stamford, Lincolnshire, England
  • John Brown - born abt. 1380, of Stanford Draper, Rutlandshire, England, Died July 26 1442, Stamford, Lincolnshire, England

Famous People with the Surname BROWN:

Genealogy Resources for the Surname BROWN:

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Brown Genealogy Society
A great collection of information on genealogies and histories related to the Brown surname.

Brown DNA Study
This huge DNA surname study includes over 463 tested members to date, who belong to some 242 unrelated, biologically separate Brown, Browne and Braun family lines.

Brown Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Brown surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Brown query. There are also separate forums for the BROWNE and BRAUN variations of the Brown surname.

FamilySearch - BROWN Genealogy
Find records, queries, and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Brown surname and its variations.

BROWN Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Brown surname.

Cousin Connect - BROWN Genealogy Queries
Read or post genealogy queries for the surname Brown, and sign up for free notification when new Brown queries are added.

DistantCousin.com - BROWN Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Brown.

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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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