This interesting surname with variant spelling Brager, Bragger, Bragge originated as an English nickname for a cheerful, lively person or a boaster, braggart from the Medieval English word "bragge", meaning lively, gay, active, brisk. The Medieval English Dictionary circa 1325, describes "bragge" as mettlesome. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century, (see below). Henry Brag was mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1260. William Bragg who owned ten acres of land in the parish of St.Michaels in the Barbadoes circa 1678, is believed to have been the same William Bragg whose burial was recorded in the parish registers on June 4th 1679. Philip Bragg who died in 1759, served in Marlborough's campaigns, being promoted Captain in Ireland in 1713, and master of Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 1732. He became Lieutenant-General in 1747, and M.P. for Armagh. The English scientists Sir William Bragg (1862-1942), and his son Sir Lawrence Bragg (1890-1971), shared the Nobel prize for physics in 1915, descended from a Cumbrian family near Wigton who had been farmers and seamen for generations. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bragge, which was dated 1243, in the Assize Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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