This most interesting surname is of Old Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either Bracken in Yorkshire or Brechin in Tayside, Scotland. The former placename, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Brachen", and as "Brakene" by 1195, is composed of the Old Scandinavian "brakni", Olde English pre 7th Century "braecan", bracken. The latter place in Scotland is composed of the Olde English "breac", new arable land, and the diminutive suffix "-in"; hence "little patch of new arable land".The name may also be a variant of "Bracken", an Irish name which originated as the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Breacain", meaning "male descendant of Breacan", a personal name from the Old Gaelic "breac", spotted, speckled. In the modern idiom the surname has several spelling variants including Brechen, Brechin and Brechon. In 1180 Magister Hugh de Breychin witnessed a confirmation by Symon Loccard, while between 1202 and 1218 Andrea de Brechyn witnessed a confirmation charter by Radulph, bishop of Brechin. Mary Brecken married John Green on June 19th 1715 at Middleton by Pickering, in Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ysaac de Brechyn, which was dated 1178, in the Church Register of Brechin, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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