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Origins of the Brown surname

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What does the name Brown mean?

Brown is a common surname with a number of points of origin, most commonly being a descriptive name relating to someone with brown hair, clothing or complexion. The name has multiple roots, from the Old English word 'brun', Middle English 'broun', Norse 'brunn', and French 'brun'. Brown is the second most common surname in Canada, and the third most common in Australia and the UK, with a particular prevalence in southern Scotland. Brown can sometimes arise from an anglicisation of other surnames (especially in the United States) such as Braun from Germany and Bruno from Italy.

Alternative variations of the name Brown

Brown, Browne, Brun, Broun, Broune

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Delve deeper into the Brown family's history

Where do most Browns live?

In 1921, most Browns lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Browns

How common is your surname?

4th most common surname in the UK

We have 1,920,000 records for the Brown surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Browns most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Browns.

What are the most common Brown first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Brown family members

Common jobs for Browns

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Browns in 1921


Domestic Servant




General Servant Domestic


General Servant


Common Male occupations for Browns in 1921
Coal Miner


Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer




Farm Labourer


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Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 1,800,000 family trees with the Brown surname

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