This interesting surname, of foreign appearance, is a variant of "Brazil" (Breslin) which is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Breasail", meaning "male descendant of (O) of Brasal", a nickname meaning "strife", from the Gaelic "bres", strife. The name is found in Ireland as "Brislan(e)" and "Brislawn", which according to records is a variant of Breslane, which was one of the principal Brehon families, or Brazil from the same source, found mainly in County Waterford, occuring there as early as 1308. The sept of O'Breislein, chiefs of Fanad was powerful until it was broken by the Mc Sweeneys in 1260. The name was probably introduced to England by Irish immigrants, mainly during the Irish famine circa 1845, where the name was Anglicized as "Brizland", as no "z" exists in the Irish language. John Brisland married Alse Hereford at St. John the Evangelist, Dublin on February 7th 1638, and Margaret, daughter of Owen Brislan was christened at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry on November 24th 1667. William, son of Archibald and Mary Brizland was christened at St. Lawrence, Poutney, London on June 30th 1715. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mahowne Brassill, which was dated 1551, Clonmel court records, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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