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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

A full world-wide One Name Study of the BRICKELL name is being undertaken. This involves collecting all and any information related to the BRICKELL name and principally compiling family trees - hoping of course to link all such trees into one tree with a single 'patriarch' at the head of the one tree. However as well as 'discovering' and plotting the family tree of the BRICKELL name, the study also aims to research various social themes and historical events that arise from the research on various individuals and their experiences.

A formal membership group (Brickell History User Group - BHUG) is in operation to share and collaborate in the research using a range of on-line facilities, all members being asked to comply with a strict publishing policy.

Variant names

The different spelling variations seem to have a geographic pattern:

In the Shaftesbury, Dorset area the two most common variations are Brickle and Brickell, and for some early evidence within some family lines these become interchangeable (even for the same person). The Brickell variant however becomes more dominant over time.

In the Northenden, Cheshire area however there are more variations with Brickill, Brickhill, Brekel, Brekell, Breckell as well as Brickell occuring; the Brickell variant again becomes more dominant over time.

Another common variant is Bricknell, but as far as can be ascertained so far, this is a distinct 'clan' that seems to be concentrated in the Hampshire and Oxford area.

An interesting phenomenon however is the frequency at which a maternal surname is adopted as a middle christian name (identically for either a boy or girl), thus creating a series of sub-clans in which the practice persists for many generations and in one known case has become the main surname.

Some of the sub-clans identified so far from the Shaftesbury area are:

  • Stacey-Brickell
  • Goulden-Brickell
  • Bennet-Brickell
  • Hussey-Brickell

Name origin

The One Name Study has so far shown a significant pattern back to the Shaftesbury area (Dorset, England) with a substantial amount of information dating back to the 1500s. Major exceptions however are: one large family line which originates in Northenden (Cheshire, England) in the mid 1500's; two significant Kent based lines that go back to the mid 1700's; and there is also an intriguing reference to some Brickles in London in the late 1300's / early 1400's.

Distribution of the name

The Brickell name has spread throughout the world following classic British Empire patterns with significant populations in New Zealand originating from two separate individuals born in Shaftesbury. There are also significant populations in Australia and South Africa. The US, as could be expected, also has a significant population - most notably the Miami Brickells - but except in some limited cases these have not so far been linked back to the English Brickells.


Information that is currently being compiled includes the following:

  • English birth, marriage and death registration index records from 1837
  • Parish records from the Shaftesbury area of Dorset, England
  • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 UK census records
  • Detailed family trees and relationships
  • Photographic records
  • Demographic analysis
  • Worldwide spread of the Brickell name
  • Geographic locality research, particularly in the Shaftesbury area of Dorset, England.


A Brickell DNA Project has now been established using the Y-chromosome DNA testing technique.

Our DNA project has been initiated as part of the BHUG research programme so that we can not only confirm a common paternal origin to some of the various 'lines' that are being researched, but also to identify cases where the Brickell descent may be through a female of our surname. With the former case we aim to build a DNA based genealogical map, with the degree of divergence of the various markers giving us an indication of the number of generations back the convergence point may be. For the latter case, which is likely to be quite a common occurrence given the breadth of our One Name Study, identifying the possibility will enable our paper based research to be appropriately focused, and over time we may even, using various public DNA family history databases, identify candidates for the paternal line associated with the intermediate Matriarch.

The project has only recently got under way and if you have an interest in this project or better still think that you could be a candidate for testing please do get in contact with us.