Braket - The Broket Archive


I think you’ll agree that the surname Braket—or Brackett and variants—is orally distinct from the surname Broket. If your surname is Brackett you don’t get called Brockett—at least in the UK.+Read more

More interesting though, is whether you’ll find the surname Broket as an alias of Braket, or vice versa. The difference between a variant and an alias is that a variant is, or starts as, just a different or erroneous spelling, Brockett for Brocket, or Brockel for Brocket. An alias is the conscious and sustained use by someone of a different name to their original one. In this case it would be a conscious adoption of the surname Broket or Brockett by someone originally called Braket or Brackett. Records show that Broket aliases have been adopted by bearers of the surnames Brock and Brothwood. The question is: has Broket also been an alias of Braket?

In the UK there have been a few isolated instances of the misspelling or idiosyncratic transcription, and one—possibly two—found so far of the variant. They haven’t passed on to another generation. But in the USA, specifically in the New Haven clan, records show that Broket and Braket alternated regularly with each other for at least the first 100 years—or 3 or 4 generations—of their immigration. It’s curious and difficult to explain. Perhaps as education and going to school became more commonplace by the 19th C, which spelling you used—whether Braket or Broket—crystallised. Or perhaps you made a choice for one reason or another. But there’s no denying that today some cousins have been Brocketts for generations and others Bracketts.

Contents of this page:

1. Definitions
2. Scribal misspellings in the UK
3. Scribal misspellings in North America
4. Braket as an alias of Broket?
5. John Brackett baptisms in England 1600-20
6. Brakets in Hertfordshire
7. Brakets in N America


To follow.

Scribal misspellings

Scribal misspellings in Australasia

Arthur Brackett, baptised Bromham 8 Mar 1874, son of Daniel Brockett and Jane WOODWARD.

Scribal misspellings in North America

It’s curious that in 16th and 17th C England Broket was an uncommon name, and Braket even more so, yet in modern day USA there are up to 16 times as many Brakets as Brokets. Even in the early days of colonization it seems that there were many more Brakets in N America than Brockets, both in the northeast and southeast.

Perhaps the earliest confusion of Broket and Braket in N America was William who was transported to Accomack Co, Virginia 1638 sponsored by Thomas Burbage. Filby listed him as Brockett,1 but Nugent listed him as Brackett.2 William was the only Brackett listed by Nugent. Filby listed 7 Brackets emigrating 1620-50. Since then it happened often: anyone researching early North American Brokets soon notices that they are quite often recorded as Brakets. Indeed, it went further and in at least one case the Brackett version of the New Haven surname prevailed, see the section below on Braket as an alias of Broket.

Scribal misspellings in the UK

To follow.

Braket as an alias of Broket?

The most striking example of this is the case of the N American Christopher (b 1749) and his descendants. It also occurred in a number of other cases among his New Haven clan, e.g. John, his son John, William, Benjamin.

John Brackett baptisms in England 1600-20

Working back from an age at death of John of Newhaven in 1690 of between 77 and 80, gives a earliest possible birth c 1609-13. We will go back one further decade for good measure. To be a signatory to the Fundamantal Agreement, dated 6 Jun 1639, John would have been at least 21, therefore born no later than June 1618.

More research is needed, but currently records of the following baptisms of 5 John Bracket/ts have been found 1600-20, of which 3 could possibly have emigrated to N America—nos. 1, 2 and 5:

  1. 11 Feb 1612 Holy Trinity, Ely, Cambridgeshire: John son of William Bracket.3 See below.
  2. 5 Jan 1616 Hadleigh, Suffolk: John son of Edward and Judith Bracket.4 See below.
  3. 15 Jul 1616 Swaffham, Norfolk: John son of George and Anne Brackett.5 See below.
  4. 31 May 1618 Lydd, Kent: John son of Anthonie and Brigget Bracket.6 See below.
  5. 28 Aug 1618 Swaffham, Norfolk: John son of George and Anne Brackett.7 See below.

In addition, Richard Brackett of Norwich, Clerk, mentioned his son John in his Will of 17 Jul 1633. This John is another possible candidate for the emigrant to N America. See below.

Ely Brakets

Other than John, baptised 1612, records of baptisms of children of William Bracket are recorded for Holy Trinity, Ely: on 26 Dec 1600 (Margaret) and 24 Nov 1605 (Dina), and of a burial there of Willyam Bracket on 21 Oct 1614, presumably himself. Otherwise no other relevant records or further record of John after his baptism have been found in Ely or Cambridgeshire. So, it is possible that it was he who emigrated to America and joined the Newhaven colony. Various other Brakets were buried in Ely but no connection with William or John was made. Ely is a cathedral city c 14 m N of Cambridge.

Hadleigh Brakets

The following records have been found of a couple from Hadleigh, Suffolk, and their children.8 The social status of the clan isn’t known—whether they were Yeomen or Labourers. Hadleigh is only c 10 m E of Sudbury, where a larger Bracket clan is recorded.

Edward BRACKET m Judith W… 1611.9 Edward was probably baptised in Hadleigh 3 May 1590, the eldest known child of William Bracket, and one of about 7 other Bracket children with father William baptised there between 1592-1612. Edward and Judith had 5, perhaps 7, children in Hadleigh:

  1. Edward, bap 13 Mar 1613.
  2. John, bap 5 Jan 1616.
  3. Arthur, bap 20 Dec 1618.
  4. ?Robert, bap 8 Apr 1621.
  5. Janne, bap 16 Feb 1622
  6. ?Fraunces, bap 3 Oct 1625.
  7. Judith bap 1 Jul 1627.

Of these, Edward, Arthur, Robert, and probably Janne, are recorded marrying and/or having children in Hadleigh, but no further record of John was found in Hadleigh or Suffolk. So, it is possible that it was he who emigrated to America and joined the Newhaven colony. However, records exist of John Brakets marrying or being buried elsewhere in Norfolk in 1650, 1657, 1666 and 1680, and in London in 1643 and 1674, any one of whom of course could have been this John. More research should be done.

Swaffham Brakets

The following records have been found of a couple from Swaffham, Norfolk—John and Joan Bracket—and their children.10 Swaffham is c 25 m W of Norwich and 13 m SE of King’s Lynn. Records were also found there of two possible sisters of John—Joane Bracket in 1584 to William LISTE, Labourer—and possible parents of all three—William Bracket, buried 1576, and Annes Bracket, Widow, buried 1589. Two baptismal records from 1574 and 1581 of two sons of a Thomas Bracket—a possible brother of John—were found in Marham, c 8 m W of Swaffham.11

Otherwise no records of other Brackets were found in Swaffham or Marham after 1634—the burial of George, below. The Thomas and Barbara Brocket—with an ‘o’—who were recorded in Swaffham at the end of the 17th C were unconnected with either these, or apparently any other, Norfolk Brackets, and were probably incomers from Grimston, c 10 m NW of Swaffham. No baptismal record of a suitable Thomas Bracket in Norfolk was found. However, not all Norfolk parish registers are currently online.12

John BRACKET m Jone LETHER 5 Oct 1578. Children:

  1. Barbara Bracket, bap 20 Sep 1579; alive Feb 1606.13 Daughter:
    1. Jone Brackett, bap 22 May 1603. “Jone Brackett the daughter of Barbara Brackett base borne was baptized the xxijth of Maie”
  2. John Bracket, bap 19 Oct 1581; bur 30 Jan 1592/3. “John Bracket the sonne of John Bracket and Joan his wife was buried the xxxth of Januarie”
  3. Anne Bracket, bap 1 Mar 1583/4; alive Feb 1606.14 Son:
    1. William Bracket, bap 25 Jan 1606. “Wm Bracket sonne of Anne Brackett base borne was baptized 25 of January”. Might he have been transported to Virginia in 1638?

    Anne married 8 Jul 1610 Thomas BATTERBY.

  4. Amy Bracket, bap 13 Mar 1586; alive Feb 1606.15 ?Married 1607.
  5. James Bracket, bap 7 Aug 1588; bur 16 Mar 1589.
  6. Mary Bracket, bap 6 Jan 1590; alive Feb 1606.16
  7. George Bracket, bap 28 Jan 1592. “George Bracket the sonne of John Brackett & Joan his wife was baptised the xxviijth of Januarie”.17 George married Anne GYLES 8 Sep 1614; and was buried 29 Jun 1634. Children:
    1. John, bap 15 Jul 1616. “John the sonne of George Brackett baptized the 15 of July”. No record of his burial has been found, so he most likely died before his namesake brother was born.
    2. John, bap 28 Aug 1618. “John the sonne of George Brackett bap’ the 28 of August”. No further records of a relevant John Braket have been found in Swaffham or Norfolk as a whole. So, it is possible that it was he who emigrated to America and joined the Newhaven colony. The burial of John Brackett in Marham (c 7 m W of Swaffham) was recorded on 25 Mar 1657 may have been him.18 See Will of John Brackett or Bracket, Husbandman of Marham, Norfolk, 26 July 1659.19
  8. William Bracket, bap 13 Nov 1597; bur 22 Nov 1597.
  9. Margaret Bracket, bap 5 Aug 1599; alive Feb 1606.20

The Will of the first John Bracket of Swaffham Shoemaker, married to Joan, was written 1 Feb 1605/6, and proved in Swaffham 12 Feb 1605/6:21+Read more

He would have been the John buried there 2 Feb 1605/6.22 Joan was probably buried 17 Jan 1626.

Lydd Brakets

The following records have been found of a couple from Lydd, Kent, and their 3 children.23 Their surname was recorded half the time as Bracket/t (or Bracchet) and half as Bricket. Lydd is near Dungeness c 25 m SW of Dover.

Antony BRICKET married Brigget CRINCHAM 8 Oct 1611. Children:

  1. Eizabeth, baptised as BRACCHET bap 30 Aug 1612, buried as BRICKET 8 Nov 1612.
  2. Daniel, baptised as BRICKET 27 Oct 1616, buried as BRACKETT 13 Oct 1636.
  3. John, baptised as BRACKET 31 May 1618, buried as BRICKET 16 Feb 1619.

Antony BRACKET was buried 14 Jan 1633.

Norwich Brakets

Brakets are recorded in Norwich from the 15th C. John Brakett of Norwich St Stephen, for instance, died in 1451,24 Then from 1608 a Richard Brackett was apparently a curate at St Martin at Palace, Norwich, and assisted at the services in the nearby cathedral.25 In 1617 he became Rector of Norwich St Augustine and he held the living till his death on 29 Dec 1634 and burial there 2 Jan 1634.26 He went to Cambridge and Venn & Venn recorded his career:27

Bracket Richard Venn vol 1 p 198

The records of Richard’s date of birth vary between c 1553-61. According to Venn & Venn above he was admitted at Caius in 1574 aged 21 and ordained a deacon in 1601 aged 40. We know from his Will of 17 Jul 1633,28 that his wife then was Jane, and that he had 6 surviving adult children, but no records of his marriage or of the children’s baptisms have so far been found. If a 6th child was 21 in 1633 then the 1st child would have been born by 1602 at the latest when Richard was 41-9. There were a large number of parishes in 16 and 17th C Norwich and by no means are all their registers digitally available.29 Besides living in Norwich, Venn also recorded Richard as a student at Cambridge 1573-8, and a Curate at Ashwell Thorpe and Intwood 1601-2. St Augustine’s registers date from 1559; Ashwell Thorpe’s from 1558; Intwood’s baptisms from 1538 and marriages and burials from 1557 and 1558. However no relevant record has so far been found in any of these parishes. Richard may therefore have married any time between c 1574-1601.

Thus Richard’s children are known for sure only from his Will and their birth dates can only be estimated within a large range. The most likely record of any of them is of the Robert Bracket who married Margaret NORTON in St Augustine’s—his father’s parish—on 7 Sep 1639.30 This would mean that the second son was born at the latest by c 1618, but it could have been a late marriage and he was born much earlier. It’s all speculation, and when the other children were born can only be estimated very roughly. It’s possible that the eldest son Richard was the “Richard Bracket (near 100 y old)” at his burial in Norwich St John Timberhill with All Saints & St Michael At Thorn on 2 Dec 1678,31 i.e. b c 1578, but estimates of the elderly at their burial are unreliable. The Jane Brackett buried at Norwich St Paul on 23 Mar 1636 may have been Rev Richard’s widow.32

BRAKET of Norwich 16-17th C

Our interest here is in their son John, mentioned in the Will as follows +Read more

Too much can be inferred from Wills, but what is clear from Richard’s is that John was his 3rd of 4 surviving sons and his 4th or 5th child, and that the lion’s share of the property went to the older children. According to the rough calculations above John could have been born any time between c 1581-1611. Richard willed that John, on the death of his mother, should inherit Richard’s tenement in the parish of St Martins at the Palace in Norwich. This was on condition that John paid his younger brother Thomas £30 in annual instalments of £5, the first within a year of his mother’s death.

The 1631 Norwich St Gregory record: “John Brakett & Isabell Inman were maryed the xjxth day of May” may have been of this John, in which case he would probably have been born by c 1609. But he was not the John Bracket buried in St Peter Of Mountergate, Norwich, 25 Jul 1666; that John was an infant child of Owen Bracket, as was Anne, buried there 1 Aug that year.33 Who Owen was isn’t known. There were clearly other Braket families in Norwich at the time. But that there was another Richard Braket at the time is perhaps unlikely, so the Tomasin, wife of Richard Braket who was buried in St John Timberhill with All Saints & St Michael At Thorn on 23 Dec 1605 may have been a wife of Richard’s before Jane.34 Why she would have been buried in that parish is unclear, the record added that she was buried “in the mount”, but it didn’t cost any more than a normal burial in the churchyard—6d. No other burials were recorded there in the adjoining few years. A couple of years later—on 20 Feb 1607/8—a Margery Bracket was buried in the same parish.35 In her case she was “chested”, i.e. buried in a coffin, for which the charge was 12d.

A further record of John son of Richard in Norwich or its environs may come to light in future, but currently none has been found. As a younger son he may typically have moved elsewhere to seek his fortune. That he was the John who died in New Haven 1690 would mean he would have been born at the early end of the estimated range of his birth of c 1609-18, and therefore aged not less than 80 at death.

Richard’s Will mentioned property in Wreningham, a village c 3 m (4.8 km) SE of Wymondham and 9 m (14 km) SW of Norwich, and Venn & Venn’s entry above recorded that his father Richard was from Wreningham. Unfortunately the Wreningham Parish register only dates from 1656. The earlier work by J Venn recorded that Richard’s father had died by the time Richard was admitted, and was ‘mediocris fortunae’ (of average wealth). Spufford showed this to have been a standard term at Cambridge in the 1630s that “apparently covered sons of the clergy and the professional and trading classes, as well as artisans and small farmers.”36 McLaren’s description of Richard’s father as “a gentleman farmer of Wreningham” was unsourced. Richard’s own father Thomas and brother John both styled themselves ‘husbandman’. Interestingly—in the light of records of John of New Haven and his descendants as both Broket and Braket—the records of Thomas were with the surname Broket, see the separate page for the Brokets and Brakets of Wreningham.

The 1635 Probate inventory on the death of Richard Bracket, Clerk, of Norwich is transcribed here:37+Read more

Inventories like this give an insight into life in those times. It was interesting that Richard had a cittern, somewhat like his next-generation contemporary Rev John Brockett of Grimston, Norfolk, whose 1664 inventory included a pair of virginals. That John was a gentleman by birth and the value and contents of his inventory were significantly greater than Richard’s, suggesting that McLaren’s description above of Richard’s father as a ‘gentleman farmer’ was overstated. Other than that, the inventory unfortunately doesn’t provide further genealogical clues.

6. Brakets in Hertfordshire

In order to clarify any cross-over with the name Broket here are occurrences that have been found of Brakets in Hertfordshire:

1709: “William Bracket Nursery, of St. Martin’s Ludgate” buried Hatfield 1 Jun.55 This appears to be the burial of a young child from London.

7. Brakets in N America

To follow.

Page Last Updated: April 5, 2020


For full bibliographical details please see the sections Publications or Glossary.


[1] Filby 1981 citing Greer 1912 p 45.

[2] 1934- p 110

[3] Cambridgeshire Family History Society Transcriptions, from FindMyPast accessed 2 Dec 2017.

[4] England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975, FamilySearch Intl, from FindMyPast accessed 2 Dec 2017.

[5] Parish Register.

[6] England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975, FamilySearch Intl, from FindMyPast accessed 2 Dec 2017.

[7] Parish Register.

[8] Unless otherwise noted, from FamilySearch Intl from FindMyPast, accessed 2 Dec 2017.

[9] Boyd's marriage index, 1538-1850, Transcription by Society of Genealogists.

[10] All from the Parish Register.

[11] Parish Register.

[12] Dec 2017.

[13] Father's Will.

[14] Father's Will.

[15] Father's Will.

[16] Father's Will.

[17] As of 4 Dec 2017 his surname was wrongly transcribed as Brocket in FMP.

[18] Norfolk Record Office PD 480/1, as published by FMP.

[19] TNA PROB 11/294/287.

[20] Father's Will.

[21] Archdeaconry of Norfolk Probate. Will register Liber 36 (Carre).

[22] Parish Register.

[23] Parish Records. England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975, England Marriages 1538-1973, and England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991, by permission of FamilySearch Intl, from FindMyPast accessed 2 Dec 2017.

[24] NCC will register 7 Aleyn 81.

[25] McLaren's (2014) Rector Richard Bracket (c.1561–1635) at (accessed 29 Dec 2018), source not mentioned.

[26] McLaren; Norfolk Burials PD 185/1.

[27] 1922 Vol 1 p 198.

[28] Norwich Consistory Court Will register 127 (Playford), indexed under Brackitt, written 17 Jul 1633, proved Norwich 13 Jan 1634/5. Many thanks to Bill Brackett for this reference. See his transcription of the whole Will at (accessed 29 Dec 2018).

[29] See (accessed 30 Dec 2018). For a map of the ancient Norwich parishes see (accessed 30 Dec 2018).

[30] Norfolk Marriages PD 185/1.

[31] Norfolk Burials PD 74/41.

[32] Mid-Norfolk Family History Society Burial Index For England & Wales.

[33] Transcription from England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991, FMP 3 Dec 2017, with permission of FamilySearch Intl.

[34] Norfolk Burials PD 74/41.

[35] Norfolk Burials PD 74/41.

[36] 1974 p 174.

[37] Norfolk Record Office document DN/INV 41/68. Many thanks to the NRO staff for professional photography and assistance, and to palaeographer David Bethell for deciphering obscurities.

[38] i.e. 1635.

[39] A note on the dorse says 'Exhibited 10 Aug 1635'.

[40] Spits.

[41] Cradle.

[42] Presumably some kind of container, or purse.

[43] NSOED: or hack: 'a wooden frame for drying cheeses, fish, bricks, etc.'

[44] NSOED: porringer: 'A small bowl, often with a handle, for soup, broth, porridge, etc.'

[45] i.e. a container for vinegar.

[46] NSOED: 'A hardwood, especially maple, used as a material for drinking cups.'

[47] i.e. Ceiled, as in having a ceiling.

[48] NSOED: dornick: 'Any of various fabrics originally manufactured at Doornnik (Tournai) in SW Belgium; especially a silk or wool fabric formerly used for hangings, carpets, vestments, etc.'

[49] NSOED: 'A cloth of fine texture resembling serge, originally containing silk, now usually of wool.'

[50] McLaren refers to this as a painting, along with 'one of the Hebrew heroine Judith', although they are here in the inventory rather than in Richard's Will (2014 at, accessed 29 Dec 2018).

[51] Probably a dittography.

[52] 'A box for sifting flour, etc' (NSOED: vol 1 p 1284b).

[53] From here follow miscellaneous items, no longer linen.

[54] 'Furindell is an obsolete term for some sort of wood: it occurs in shipping manifests from the Baltic. I have seen it suggested that it is a garbling of 'foreign deal', but am doubtful.' (Communication from David Bethell 4 Feb 2019).

[55] Hatfield Parish Register, image published by FindMyPast, accessed 22 Aug 2019.