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Brunke Coat of Arms / Brunke Family Crest

Brunke Coat of Arms / Brunke Family Crest

This surname BRUNKE was borne by the Dukes of Saxony (in the form of Bruno) among others in the 10th century. It was also the name of several medieval German and Italian Saints, including the founder of the Carthusian order (1030-1101) who was born in Cologne. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. In the form Brown, the name is one of the most common surnames in the English speaking world, with, for example, some 50000 listings in the London Directory, and over 2500 in Manhattan. The variant Browne is also common in all parts of Britain and Ireland; in Galway it is borne by descendants of a 12th century Norman invader called Brun, and has been Gaelicized as de Brun.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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