Origins of Brien:
Listed in many spelling forms such as Brian, Brien, Bryan, Briand, Brient, Bryand, Bryant, and the Gaelic O`Brien or O`Brian, this surname can be of either Breton (France), or Norse-Viking or Gaelic sources. However, wherever it originally appeared, the meaning of the name is perhaps the same, and that is "hillman." It may seem that a different meaning for what started out as a first name before becoming a surname, but most old names have same simple sources. Certainly, where the name is of claimed Gaelic or Celtic origin, it acquired from "bre," which means slope. The offsprings of Brian Boru, who rose to the High Kingship in 1002 like the popular tribe O'Brien, and it considered that "Brian" came into use as a surname 40 years after his death. Sadly, this is not proven. It was also considered that the Irish name was "borrowed" by the Vikings, who brought it to North West England before the Norman invasion. What is real is that the name was first listed in England in the 1086 Domesday Book of Essex, Radulfus filius Brien, appearing there.
More common variations are: Bryien, Brienn, Briean, Brieen, Briene, Birien, Borien, Breien, Brioen, Briehn.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Ralph Brien, dated about 1160, in the "Feudal Documents" from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. It was during the time of King Henry II who was known to be the “The Builder of Churches," dated 1154-1189. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
The surname Brien first appeared in Thomond, an area that consisted mostly of district Clare with combined parts of divisions Limerick and Tipperary.
Many of the people with surname Brien had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Brien settled in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the individuals with the name Brien who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Cormick Brien, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745. A Lucie Brien, Isabelle Brien, and Magdeleine Brien, all arrived in South Carolina in 1755-1756. Elizabeth Brien, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1767.
The following century saw many more Brien surnames come. Some of the population with the name Brien who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included William Brien landed in America in 1800. Thomas Brien arrived in New York, NY in 1804.
People with the surname Brien settled in Canada in two different centuries respectively in the 17th and 18th. People with the surname Brien who came to Canada in the 17th century included Louis Brien arrived in Quebec from Brittany in 1676.
The following century saw much more Brien surnames come. Some of the people with the name Brien who landed in Canada in the 19th century included Anne Brien landed in Nova Scotia in 1813.
People with the surname Gouge who settled in Australia in the 19th century included Christopher Brien, Joseph Brien, Thomas Brien and Edward Brien, all arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832.
Some of the individuals with the surname Gouge who settled in New Zealand in the 19th century included Hannah Brien arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863. Ellen Brien arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Brien: Ireland 12,163; United States 4,895; Canada 2,668; England 2,420; Australia 1,872; South Africa 1,242; France 784; Germany 773; Northern Ireland 262; New Zealand 220.
Douglas Robert Zachariah Brien was born in November 1970, and is an old American football placekicker.
William Roy Brien (November 1930–January 1987) was an English soccer player.