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About the study

My Brough family originated in Cumberland and having documented my direct line, I started to broaden my research into my extended Brough family and other Brough family lines in Cumberland to try and identify links between them. This led to working on Brough families in Northumberland, various parts of Scotland and then across world.

Variant names

This study focuses on the main Brough surname, though I have documented members from other families such as the Breux's from Quebec and the Bruch family from Germany, who emigrated to Pennsylvannia in 1736. Some members of this family changed their name to Brugh circa 1787 and finally to Brough around 1810.

Other recorded variants, which appear in my trees include Broghe, Broughe, Brouf, Bruff, and Broffe.

Name origin

Brough is considered to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a place name which was adopted by the local inhabitatants as 'xx of Brough' as their surname. Several small Brough towns and villages exist in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cumberland and further north on the Isles of Orkney and Shetland. It is considered to be derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'burh' meaning 'fortress' with similar sounding equivants also meaning a fotress or citadel in Old German and Norse - which is not surprising given the common derivation of these languages.

Historical occurrences of the name

Earliest records of the surname date back to the early 13th Century, including one William de Brugh (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk. Robert Brough was christened on November 14th 1559, at St. Vedast Foster Lane and St. Michael le Querne, London and Phillipp Broughe, son of Robert was christened on September 9th 1565, at St. Martin Ludgate, Staffordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Daniel de Buag, which was dated 1219, witness in the 'Assize Rolls of Yorkshire'.

Distribution of the name

The Brough name is widely distributed throughout the UK, from Orkney in the north, with a large population in Perthshire and Angus, though Cumberland and Northumberland, down to Staffordshire. The name is relatively common in Canada and the USA, due to emigration to the 'new world'.


The data from my research is held in my One Name Study database on my website ( and the data has also been posted on various commercial or public sites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch and GenesReunited. Always happy to make whatever data I have available to other researchers