The name Brown or Browne is one of the most common names in Ireland and in the UK and America.
It dates back to the 7th century in England. It comes from an old Anglo-Norman word ‘brun’, which referred to the colour of a person’s hair, skin or clothes.
It first arrived in Ireland in 1170, at the time of Strongbow’s rule. As the Normans invaded and gained control of much of Ireland, many of them settled.
The Le Bruns married into several powerful families across Galway and Mayo, and joined the ‘14 Tribes of Galway’, an alliance that controlled the political and trade links.
Over time the family name spread throughout Ireland and the pronunciation evolved into Brown or Browne.
Throughout history, thousands of Browns have emigrated from Ireland to find a better life around the world, most notably during the great famine in the 1800s.
One of the first Europeans to settle in America, was named Edward Browne, who was actually from London, but moved to Virginia in the 17th century.
Share a special moment with someone you love
Two hearts come together as one in this delightful sterling silver necklace
Video of the story of the Brown name
Famous Browns throughout history
As the name Brown has such popularity around the world, there are literally hundreds of notable people named Brown in almost every field.
One of the most famous is James Brown, the soul singer who is often referred to as the Godfather of Soul. He had a music career that spanned six decades with I Feel Good, The Payback and Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag among his most famous songs.
Dan Brown is an American author, who wrote The Da Vinci Code, which went on to sell millions of copies worldwide before being made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks.
Browns in film and television
The name is also used by writers for the main characters of their stories on numerous occasions.
Some fictional Browns that have become household names over the years are Charlie Brown, who is the main character of the Peanuts series of cartoons, although Charlie’s pet dog Snoopy is possibly the more recognisable name worldwide.
Dr Emmett Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, was the name of the eccentric scientist who helped Marty McFly travel back and forth across time to repeatedly save his family in the cult trilogy of Back to the Future movies.
Mrs Brown is the name of the traditional yet foul mouthed Irish woman played by comedic actor Brendan O’Carroll in the hit BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’ Boys.
Great Celtic art available in our store - Personalised prints
Did you know?People with Irish roots have a great opportunity to start searching their family history for free thanks to ancestry.ie who have made more than ten million records available online. The family tree website has published Catholic Parish Registers dating from 1655 all the way up to 1915. Find out more.
Have you heard about…Great fun - A bride and groom treated their guests to a session of traditional Irish dancing for their first dance as a marriage couple during their wedding reception. Check out the video here.
What about this…‘If weather forecasters were more honest’ - a hilarious video imagines what Irish weather forecast would sound like if the presenter was a bit less cheerful and a bit more honest. Find out more.