This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and is a locational name for someone from the duchy of Brabant. Brabant was a former duchy in West Europe, divided when Belgium became independent in 1830, the south forming the Belgian provinces of Antwerp and Brabant, and the north forming the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands. The placename is believed to derive from the French "brabant", swivel plough. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Heliseus de Brabayn, noted in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire; John Braton, listed in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and Richard Brabyn, registered as a Freeman of Yorkshire in 1549. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Braban, Brabant, Braben, Brabin, Brabon, Brabyn, Brabban, Brabben, Brabbins and Brabham. The marriage was recorded in London of Rychard Brabon and Magdalene Wath on October 8th 1603, at St. Andrew's, Enfield. An early settler in the New World Colonies was Robert Braban, aged 29 yrs., who embarked from the Port of London on the "Bonaventure", bound for the Barbadoes in April 1635. The family Coat of Arms is three gold leopards' heads on a blue fesse humettee all on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Braban, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, 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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