This famous surname is French and almost certainly of Huguenot refugee origins. First recorded in the British Isles during the "reign" of Oliver Cromwell (1654 - 1658) it owes its later fame and fortune to John Debrett (1750 - 1822), a London publisher who produced his book known as "The 'Peerage" in 1802. Even today this book and its successors, remains the benchmark by which those of aristocratic pretensions, are listed. The Debrett name is locational from the Brittany region of France, an area much associated with the Protestant movement, and is self descriptive meaning of 'of Breton'. The recordings of the surname in France in the surviving church registers are very poor, and much later than in England. This is because most early French records were destroyed by the revolutionaries of 1792, as being 'instruments' of the secret police of the late King Louis X1V. The surname is apparently first recorded in England in 1655, when on September 17th of that year, Demingo and Leoncurdo Debrett were married at St Johns church, in Hackney, Middlesex. This is perhaps surprising as one might have expected this recording to have been at one of the several French Huguenot churches which had sprung up around London as focal points for refugees. This is certainly the case with Jean de Bret, whose son Louis was christened at La Patente, Soho, on September 15th 1754, whilst Lewis Debrett married Sarah Burr at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 26th 1839.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017