Recorded in the spellings of Braney, Branney, and Branee, this would seem to be an English surname. It is believed to originate from the locational name Browney, itself the name of a small river situated in County Durham. The earliest recording appears in the year 1190 in the Finchale Charters of Durham as 'Brune', and in 1195 as 'Brun'. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'brun', meaning brown with the later addition of 'ey', which logically is from the word 'ea', meaning a river.The following examples illustrate the name development and include John Branee who was christened on January 25th 1704 at St. Botolph's church, Bishopsgate, and Martha Esther Braney who was also christened on April 6th 1817 at Lady Huntingdon's Hospital, Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, and Ann Branney, who was christened on August 1st 1841 at All Saints, Cockermouth, Cumberland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Mary Brayny, which was dated July 27th 1695, at St. Paul's church, Covent Garden, Westminster. This was during the reign of King William 111 of Orange and England, 1689-1702. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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