The Brown family can be traced as far back as 1829 to Lambeth with the birth of William Brown. This is the oldest record of the Brown family to have been discovered so far. It is known that his father’s name was Richard, but no birth or marriage can be found for him yet. The Browns moved from Lambeth to Whitechapel and Bethnal Green where further children were born. They later spread out around the end of the 19th century, but largely around south east London, in the districts of Southwark, Camberwell, Deptford and Lewisham.

Most descendants of the Brown family lived in Walthamstow and parts of south east London around the turn of the 20th century until some time after the Second World War. The 1950s and 1960s saw many Londoners move out into the new towns and Home Counties and the Brown family were no exception. Today, descendants of the Brown family can be found all over the country but primarily in south east London and Kent with others spread around the world in Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

With Brown being such a common name, I am very pleased to have found as much out about as I have. Until the General Register Office make older birth, marriage and death records from England and Wales available online to search and view, most of the Brown family tree will have to wait, as the risk of purchasing the wrong certificate is very likely with hundreds of people with the same name.

According to University College London, Brown is currently the fourth most common surname in England and the most common surname in Greater London. (updated November 2014)

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Brown family:

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Surname meaning:

English, Scottish, and Irish: generally a nickname referring to the color of the hair or complexion, Middle English br(o)un, from Old English brun or Old French brun. This word is occasionally found in Old English and Old Norse as a personal name or byname. Brun- was also a Germanic name-forming element. Some instances of Old English Brun as a personal name may therefore be short forms of compound names such as Brungar, Brunwine, etc. As a Scottish and Irish name, it sometimes represents a translation of Gaelic Donn.
[Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press]


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