Breese Surname Meaning & Statistics
34,800th most common
surname in the world
people bear this surname
Most prevelant in:United States
Highest density in:Jersey
Breese is a Welsh patronymic surname. Before surnames were common in Wales, people were known by patronyms - that is by reference to their male ancestors. For example, Gruffydd ap Helyin ab Owain, means Gruffydd, son of Heylin, son of Owain.Read More About This Surname
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Breese Surname Distribution
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Breese Surname Meaning
Descriptive Writing for introductory reference
Breese is a Welsh patronymic surname. Before surnames were common in Wales, people were known by patronyms - that is by reference to their male ancestors. For example, Gruffydd ap Helyin ab Owain, means Gruffydd, son of Heylin, son of Owain. Surnames were adopted as English influence increased in Wales. The majority of surnames were derived from patronyms. Thus John ap John, would become John Jones, or sometimes John John. In some cases the 'p' or 'b' from 'ap' or 'ab' was prefixed to the surname., creating surnames such as Bowen (from ab Owen) and Prichard (from ap Richard). Typically surnames beginning with a vowel would be prefixed with a 'b' and surnames that began with constants a 'p'. However, this was not always the case and is the source of surnames such as Bloyd (from ab Lloyd). Thus Breese is derived from a concatenation of 'ab' and the Welsh forename Rhys; and as such the surname is of the same origin as Price, Pryce, Preece and Prys.
It appears the surname arose predominately or only in Montgomeryshire and is heavily connected with the parish of Llanbrynmair, where the Breeses were yeoman farmers with a penchant for inter-marriage. The surname is still common in Montgomeryshire and Shropshire, but today is more often rendered Breeze. Breese family traditions state that there were two Breese families in Montgomeryshire, one being "Y Breesiaid Bloesgion" and rumoured to be French or Flemish in descent, likely changing their name to blend in.
It has also been suggested that this surname could derive from the old English 'breosa', meaning lively, but it appears there is no foundation for this claim.
Early Renderings include:
- Elizabth Bryes, widow of Llanbrynmair, 1586, Welsh Probates
- Robert Breese, of Poulton, Cheshire, yeoman, 1666, Cheshire Wills
The name of Breese or Breeze was represented in this county in the reign of Henry VIII. by a parishioner of Hackford called Breze (Bl.). The Norfolk name has probably not a common origin with the North Wales name of Breese, which is a contraction like Preece, of Ap Rees.— Homes of Family Names in Great Britain (1890) by Henry Brougham Guppy
(Welsh.) A contraction of Ap Reese, the son of Reese, or Rice (which see); so Bevan from Ap Evan, Brice from Ap Rice, etc. Brys, Welsh, agility, quickness; Bresse, local, a small territory in Burgundy, France.— An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur
The North Wales name of Breese like Preece is a form of Ap Rees. Breeuse and Breeze are old Norfolk names, where it is probable they have had a different origin, Brese being the form in the time of Henry VIII.— Homes of Family Names in Great Britain (1890) by Henry Brougham Guppy
Breese Surname Variants & Similar Names
Breese Reference & Research
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- Description: Descriptions are largely reproduced from 3rd party sources; diligence is advised on accepting their validity
- Incidence: The approximate number of people in a given area who bear the surname
- Frequency: The percentage of people in a given area that bear the surname
- Rank: Surnames are ranked by incidence using the dense ranking method; the surname that occurs the most is assigned a rank of 1; surnames that occur less frequently receive an incremented rank; if two or more surnames occur the same number of times they are assigned the same rank and preceding rank is incremented by 1
- Variants: Surnames listed in the 'Breese Variants' section are variant forms of the same root surname according to either sources listed on the page or Forebears
- Similar: Surnames listed in the 'Similar Surnames' section are phonetically similar and may not have any relation to Breese