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About the study
The surname is said to be of Irish origin. Dictionaries of Irish surnames, with varying degrees of certainty, state that the name, originally O'Breasail, comes from bres, meaning strife, and signifies a descendant of strife or war. While Rev. Patrick Woulfe (Irish Names and Surnames, 1923), sees it as a 'a somewhat rare and scattered surname', Edward MacLysaght, the author of 'The Surnames of Ireland' (1985), describes it as 'Mainly a Co. Waterford name'.
That notwithstanding, it is remarkable that fellow Brazells I have been in touch with - mainly English, I must admit - have unanimously told me that, according to their family tradition, the surname is of French Huguenot origin. While I am romantically inclined toward this version of the family history, I must admit that I have found no evidence to suggest it is true.