Recorded as recorded as Brunn, Brunnen, Brunner, Brunnenmann, and compounds such as Brunngraber (Brown digger), Brunnwasser (Brown water), Brunnenstein, Brunnstein (Brown stone) as well as many others, this is an early Germanic (Austria, Germany & Switzerland) surname. It several possible origins. As Brunn it was almost certainly and originally a personal name, meaning "brown." This may have been ethnic and to have described a Latin, Slav or Celt, or it was a form of the popular Bruno or Bruhno. As Brunner or Brunnenmann it probably described a person who lived by a brunnen or burne, a stream or small river, or who was the friend or servant (mann) of a person called Brunnen, which could also be a diminutive meaning "Little Brown" or "son of Brown". The compounds such as Brunn(en)stein were generally later, and were of a large group called "ornamentals". These were names deliberately created to be "pleasant" and in most cases to reflect the joys of nature. They were often given to Protestant or Jewish immigants, many of whom poured into Germany from about the 14th century to escape both Muslim and sometimes Roman Catholic persecution. Early examples of recordings in German and Swiss registers include Conradus Bruno of Bebenhausen, in 1241, Albrecht ob dem Brunnen, in the charters of Pfullendorf in 1280, and Peter Brunnstein of Luzern in 1460.
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