Brokaw Surname Genealogy

Americanized surname for the descendants of
Bourgon Broucard
the Huguenot who came
to Dutch New York in 1675. Broucard
himself was French-speaking and probably of
French origin. But the Broucard name may
have derived from a Flemish word broekaert
of uncertain meaning
Brokaw Resources on

Brokaw Ancestry

Broucard, the Huguenot immigrant, had
connections with the French-speaking city of Mouscron in present-day
and with Mannheim along the Rhine in Germany, both towns close to the
border. He and his wife Catherine
Lefevre departed Amsterdam with other Huguenots for Dutch New
York in 1675.

Broucard was pronounced Brokaw in America but it was probably
not until
the early/mid 1700’s that it began to be spelt that way.
The family lived at first in Brooklyn. In
1684 they moved to Long
Island and in 1702 Bourgon acquired land in Somerset county, New Jersey
there had been a Dutch settlement. Indeed Brokaws
tended to have Dutch wives during the 18th century. Somerset
was to be the family home for the next hundred years or so.

New Jersey. From Bourgon’s son John came
Isaac Brokaw who apprenticed as a clockmaker and then established his
practice in Elizabethtown in the 1770’s.
His son Aaron continued the business after Isaac’s death in 1826. Isaac’s younger brother Bergon fought in the
Revolutionary War and remained afterwards in Somerset county. Descendants here include the newscaster Tom
Brokaw and, through Mary Brokaw who married Jacob Bogart, the actor

From Bourgon’s
son Abraham came his son Isaac, born in 1719, who lived long enough to
see through the Revolutionary War. At the age of 78, it was
said, he travelled with his son David to upstate New York to look for
land and was killed when he fell off his wagon. The names of the
children of Isaac Brokaw and his wife Maritje were recorded in a large
Dutch Bible, dated 1725, which has been preserved.

Isaac’s sons was Caleb Brokaw,
farmer and mason who lived at Weston in New Jersey.
Another line in New Jersey from Isaac led to
Isaac Vail Brokaw.
Isaac moved to New York and organized a
clothing firm with his brother William called Brokaw
. Business
was so good that by 1890 Isaac was said to have become one of the
wealthiest men
in the city. His sons Irving and George
were notable sportsmen in New York society.

Ohio.  The largest number
of Brokaws in America in 1840 had been in New Jersey.
But by 1880 the largest number were in Ohio
and the same is true today. Among
the early Brokaws were:

  • George
    , a pioneer who came in 1802 and made his home in Athens
    Harrison county. He lived to be 86. His grandson Thomas Ray Brokaw was a
    watchmaker and jeweler in Philadelphia who returned to the old
    homestead to
    farm in 1912.
  • and John A. Brokaw who
    first came to Ohio with his parents in 1822. He
    returned in 1831 after his father Abram had died and made
    his home in
    Liberty township, Knox county. He died
    there in 1893 at the grand age of 88. The
    following commentary appeared in 1881:
Brokaw followed
farming and shoemaking, by which he gained a competence for his old
age. Mr.
and Mrs. Brokaw started poor in life. When they arrived in Knox
county, he had
a horse and wagon, with a few household effects and three dollars
twelve and
one-half cents in cash. They had thirteen children, all of whom
did well, thus
showing that they were carefully and judicially trained.

South Dakota. Tom
the newscaster is ten generations removed from Bourgon
Broucard. His great grandfather Richard
P. Brockaw, having served in the Union army, came out west in 1881 and
the town of Bristol, South Dakota. The
Brokaw House, built in 1883, was the first structure in the town

Brokaw Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Brokaw Names

Huguenot immigrant was the progenitor of the Brokaws in America.
Isaac Vail
a pioneer New York clothing merchant who in 1890 was said to have been
one of
the wealthiest men in the city.
Tom Brokaw
was the anchor and managing
editor at NBC Nightly News from 1982
to 2004

Brokaws Today

  • 1,200 in America (most numerous in Ohio)



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