GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1269034324
Subject: Re: [DNA] English genealogy--Waste in Yorkshire
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 17:32:04 EDT
In France and among Normans, Bretons had a reputation for
stupidity, and in some cases this name and its variants and cognate may
originated as derogatory nicknames. The English surname is most common in
East Anglia, where many Bretons settled after the Conquest. In Scotland it
may also have denoted a member of one of the Celtic-speaking peoples of
Strathclyde, who were known as Bryttas or Brettas well into the 13th
One of my favorite reads at our local library is "Surnames" by Ernest
Weekley, publ. 1917. It is very readable and has some interesting observations
about how surnames were assigned and by whom. It seems the Normans sent out
both clerics and civil servants to do the Domesday work and other
gatherings. One group was Latin oriented and the other French.
Weekley, p. 216, seems to support the libel origin of Britton.
I think the book is enjoyable to browse.
_Internet Archive: Free Download: Surnames_