Branson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Branson Meaning
The Branson surname is derived from a place-name Branston,
of which at one time there were many – mainly in the
Midlands.   Branston means a farm (tun) cleared by burning (brandr).  Branston pickle
originated from the Branston community of Burton-on-Trent in
Derbyshire.  Other Branstons were in Leicestershire,
Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, and Suffolk.  Branson is the main surname spelling.  But there are some

Branson Resources on

Branson Ancestry

The first surname sightings appear to have been in Suffolk.  A
Gilbert de Branteston can be found in the Suffolk pipe rolls of
1200.  The
will of Edmund Branston
was recorded at Capel St. Mary
in 1465 and these Branstons were there a century or so later.
Then there were Bransons in Berkshire and Leicestershire.

The largest number of Bransons have come from Leicestershire.  The
death of Elizabeth Branson was recorded in Husbands Bosworth in
William Branson was born in Whitwick near Loughborough in the 1740’s
and married
Elizabeth Jesson there in 1762.  Later Bransons were to be found in Whitwick during
the 19th century. 
were Bransons also by the early 1800’s in Nottinghamshire,
Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire.

One Branson line started in India in the early 1800’s, but returned to
England and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk later on in the century.
Sir George Branson, born there in 1871, was a judge and Privy
Councillor.  His grandson is the entrepreneur Richard Branson.

America.  Various Bransons
came to America in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.
One branch were
Quakers and came to Chester, Pennsylvania.  Other
Bransons settled in Springfield, New Jersey.  Later Bransons moved
to Virginia and to Missouri where there is a Branson
township in the Ozark mountains today.

“Ruben Branson, a storekeeper and
schoolmaster in his late 20’s, started a general store near the mouth
of the Roark creek and the White river in 1882.  The general store
had a post office called ‘the Branson Post Office.'”

Ruben Branson
died in 1907 and was buried nearby.  Five years later the
town was called Branson.  It is known today as a venue for country
music.  There are not many Bransons in
America, but the largest number of them are in Missouri.

Another Ruben Branson, one covered by his nephew Ivan Branson in his
1982 book Bones of the Bransons,
was to be found in California gold mining country and had roots going
back to Tennessee.

India.  The name Branson in
dates back to the 18th century.  Harry
Wilkins Branson, born there in 1802, was via his son James the forebear
of the
entrepreneur Richard Branson.  Another of
his sons Charles emigrated to New Zealand and ran Branson’s Hotel in
Dunedin.  Gerald Branson, also in Dunedin,
was the son
of William Branson, a Madras

.  Bransons were
farm laborers from Titchmarsh in Huntingdonshire in the early 19th
century and found the going hard.  They decided to emigrate and
they left for South Australia in stages between 1848 and 1853.
Their descendants are numerous there today.

Branson, convicted of sheep
stealing in Leicester at this time, was transported on the Scindian
to Western Australia.
He was able to receive an early pardon because of his rescue of
warder.  He married Margaret Mottram from
Ireland in Perth and they raised ten children.


Branson Miscellany

Branson and Branston.  Bransons
outnumber Branstons in England today.  The following are the

Surname Numbers
Branson    1,830
Branston      800

There are more Bransons to be found in America.  But no Branstons.

Early Branstons in Suffolk.  The earliest
Branston recorded in Suffolk was Edmund Branston of Capel St. Mary,
whose will
was dated November 19, 1465.  It mentions his wife Christian, sons
and Nicholas Bramston.

will of Edmund’s brother Robert was recorded in 1473, as was the will
of Nicholas Bramstone in 1491. The line from
Nicholas went to his son
William who married Agnes and died in 1514; their son John who married
Katherine and died in 1558; and their son Charles Branston.  Later
Branstons were to be found in East Bergholt, Suffolk.

Quaker Bransons in America.  The Branson name appears in Quaker records in Berkshire from the 1680’s.

Branson, the son of a Quaker, left Berkshire for Pennsylvania in
1708 on the Golden Hind.  He
established himself in Philadelphia, being
listed first as a joiner, then as a shopkeeper, and in 1726 as a
merchant.  Sometime soon afterward he
acquired land in
Chester county and started an iron foundry with Samuel Nutt near the
site of Hopewell village.  William
Branson left a large estate on his death in 1760.
But, although he married twice, he had no son or heir.  His
descendants were all daughters.

Other Quaker Bransons, the children of Thomas
and Elizabeth Branson from Berkshire, were to be found in Burlington
New Jersey.  Two sons John Day and William,
in 1704 and 1714, later settled in Frederick county, Virginia where
they were
tobacco planters.

there were also
Quaker Bransons, although some later became Baptists, in Loudoun,
Virginia and
Guilford, North Carolina.

Bransons in Whitwick, Leicestershire.  William
Branson and Frances
Woodward were married in Whitwick in 1802.
They were living at Church Gate in Loughborough by the early
and possibly earlier.  He was listed at
various times as a beer seller in Whitwick and a shopkeeper in
Loughborough.   In
1847 there were reports of his
bankruptcy in the London Gazette.
The same year, however, he became the landlord
of the Bow Bridge Inn in
Leicester.  His wife Frances took over
the inn after his death four years later.

Ruben Branson in Branson, Missouri.  From 1882 to 1886 Ruben Branson ran a general store
and post office in a town that now bears his name. Each
day hundreds of people, most
unknowingly, drive past his grave as they travel through historic
Branson via Oklahoma Street.  The grave
site may be conveniently viewed, without actually entering the
cemetery, from
the northwest corner of Oklahoma and Commercial.   Just
look for the large grey rectangular headstone with the name of
“Branson.”  It marks the graves
of Ruben and his wife Mary.

The Bransons – From Lawyer to Entrepreneur.  The Bransons were lawyers in India and George Branson, born back in
rose to become a
judge of the High Court of Justice and a Privy Councillor.
He proved to be a demanding father.  Never
an academic child, his son Ted’s principal interest at school was
history.  When he expressed a wish to
become an archaeologist, his father insisted that he prepare for a
career in

Ted Branson married
in 1949, returning
from his honeymoon to discover that he had failed his Bar exams and
that his
father had reduced his allowance because he had married before he had
qualified.  He
finally was able to qualify, was called to the Bar in 1950,
and spent the rest of his life working as a lawyer.

His son Richard might have followed in his
father’s footsteps.  His father recalled:

was a time when I felt Richard ought
to get a qualification, so I walked him up and down our lawn at home
and said I
would like him to qualify as a barrister.
Later, I felt awful because I had said to him just what my
father had
said to me.  So, the next weekend, I
walked him up and down the lawn once again and told him to forget
I’d said.”


had been enrolled at Stowe boarding school in Buckingham, but found the
environment too restrictive.  He dropped
out of school and moved to London where he made his living as a
publisher and later
opened a retail record business.


Branson Names

  • Clive Branson was an
    English artist and poet who fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side
    of the communists.
  • William Branson
    of Princeton University was a pioneer in the field of international economics.  
  • Richard Branson is the
    entrepreneur and media figure who founded the Virgin Group.

Select Branson Numbers Today

  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Leicestershire)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in Missouri)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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