Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
The German last name Brandt has two basic origin theories. First, it is a topographic name for a person who lived in an area that had been cleared by fire, deriving from the Middle High German word brant, from the brennen, meaning to burn.
Second, it is a baptismal surname mean “the son of Brand”. The name derives from the Germanic masculine personal (first) name Brando, a reduced form of longer given names such as Hildebrandt, Sibrand, Gerbrand, Wolbrand, Albrand, and Herbrand, deriving from the word brand (firebrand or sword) or brinnan, meaning to flash. Hildebrand was a legendary chief vassal of the Germanic/Gothic King Dietrich von Bern, Theoderich of Verona, who was king of the Ostrogoths, regent of Visigoths, and ruler of Italy. One source asserts that Bavaria is the home of the Brandt family, as well as Saxony. Another source asserts this surname name is frequent in Hamburg.
Because several places in England bear this name (ex. Brandeston in Suffolk and Branston in Leicestershire), it is believe the name existed prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD, and was brought into the country by Noresmen/Vikings (the Old Norse name was Brand or Brandr) who raided the coast and settled their in medieval times. The name was Anglicized to Brand or Brant. Brand ranks 1,647th in the United States and 1,092nd in England. Brant ranks 3,369th in the United States and 3,176th in England.
Mark Antony Lower writes the following in regard to this surname in his book Patronymica Britannica: “Ole Norse, brandr, a sword, whence the Old English brand, with the same meaning. As a personal name it occurs in the genealogy of the Northumbrian kings from Woden. It was a very common old Scandinavian name, and it is still used in Iceland…The name of the weapon taken from King Bucar by the Cid was Tizona, or the fire-brand. And he adds that "many swords were flamboyant; hence the word brand”.
William Arthur’s book An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names states the following in regard to this surname “In all the Teutonic dialects brand signifies to burn; also a sword, either from its brandishing, or from its glittering brightness. Brant, a hill; steep, high; Welsh, Bryn”.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Brandt, Braund, Braun, Brauns, Bront, Brande, Brandde, Brandte, Braend, Braendt, Brandis, Brendt, Brent, Brend, Brende, and several others. In Lower German, it is Brendeke and in South German it is Brandle and Brandel.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Brandt ranks 885th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following six states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In Canada, the surname ranks 1,939th in popularity. In Germany, the Brandt surname ranks 78th, it ranks 61st in Denmark, 151st in Sweden, 1,026th in Austria, 675th in Switzerland, 406th in Norway, and 922nd in Luxembourg. The surname Brandt frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (6,817st), Scotland (9,780th), Wales (unknown), Ireland (6,284th) and Northern Ireland (8,430th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this surname was William Brant, who was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD, which was a survey or England and Wales ordered by William the Conqueror. Ralph Brand was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of London in 1184 AD. Hamo Braund was recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1219 AD. Early bearers of this personal name include Hildebrand of Bremen, Hamburg in 1257 and a Brand, a shopkeeper in Stettin.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
A one Johan Pedersen Brandt was born in Aalborg, Denmark in 1595 AD and he married Mette Marie Christendatter with whom he had a son named Maren Johansdatter and had daughter with her named Maren Johansdatter Brandt or Budtz.
Johann Heinrich Brand was born in Langern, Niedersachsen who was born in 1746 who married Maria Dortheo Wichmann in Westfalen, Prussia in 1774 and he had the following issue with her: Johann Heinrich Christian Brandt, Johann Friedrich Wilehlm Brandt, and Catharine Sophia Dorothea Brand.
A one Jochen Brandt was born between 1582 and 1642 and he had a son named Georg Jurgen Brandt who was born in Holstein, Germany in 1647. He had the following issue: Joachim, Carl, Jonas, Dorothea Catharina, Georg, Anna Margaretha, and Sven Emanuel Brandt.
Gerard Brandt was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1625. He married Susanna van Baerle and he had issue with her: Gerard, Cornelia, Anna, Caspar, and Joannes.
Frederick John Brandt was born in Germany in 1859. He married twice: Caroline and Friedike Elisabeth Johanna Lankow. He had the following issue prior to his death in 1945 in Yatesboro, Pennsylvania: Margaret Hanna, Frederich Johann, Lewis, William, Harry, and Peter.
Early American and New World Settlers
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions one person bearing this surname: Christian A. Brandt, a Hessian, born in Germany who came to America with the British Army during the Revolutionary War, and ended up staying. He had a son named Benjamin who joined a community of Shakers. He died in New Lebanon, Pennsylvania in 1851. Other settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Randolph, Judith and Mary Brandt (Maryland 1674), Albertus Brandt (Pennsylvania 1691), Michael Brandt (Philadelphia 1732), Samuel Brandt (Philadelphia 1739), and Joost Brandt (Pennsylvania 1739). In Canada, one of the first documented bearers was Friedrich Brandt who arrived in Quebec in 1850.
Early Americans Bearing the Brandt Family Crest
I researched the following three resources and did not find any coats of arms for Brandt: Bolton’s American Armory, Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook, and Crozier’s General Armory.
I have been unable to identify a Brandt family motto.
We have 19 coats of arms for the Brandt surname depicted here. These 19 blazons are from Armorial General published in 1861 by the famous genealogist/heraldist Johannes Baptisa Rietstap. The bottom of this page contains the blazons (in French and English), and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
There are hundreds of notable people with the Brandt surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Richard Booker Brandt (1910-1997) who was an American philosopher who worked in the utilitarian and moral philosophy who received a PhD from Yale and became Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Michigan, 2) Rudolf Hermann Brandt (1909-1948) who was a German SS officer who was convicted of war crimes and was executed in 1948, 3) Gerard Brandt (1626-1685) who was a Dutch preacher, poet, and playwright, 4) Georg Brandy (1694-1768) who was a Swedish chemist and mineralogist who discovered cobalt, 5) Betsy Ann Brandt (1973) who is an American actress from Bay City, MI who is best known for her role in the hit TV show Breaking Bad, 6) Francis Frederick Brandt (1819-1874) who was an English barrister and author from Cheshire, 7) Heinrich Brandt (1886-1954) who was a German mathematician who was the first person to develop the concept of groupoid, and 8) Helen Brandt (1926-2013) who was a sculptor from Philadelphia who worked in New York.