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The Brisbane Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: DABIT OTIA DEUS (God will give repose)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family name, Brisbane. According to eighteenth-century heraldic authority Alexander Nisbet, Brisbane of Bishopton is the oldest and most distinguished family of this name. It is believed that the name has an Anglo-French origin, derived from ‘bris bane,’ meaning ‘bone breaker.’ Several individuals with the name de Bris Bane are mentioned in deeds from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The name Brisbane was found in Aberdeen in 1401, in Perth eight years later, and in Edinburgh from 1610.

Tragically, Matthew Brisbane, along with many others, lost his life in the Battle of Flodden in 1514. After his death, the Brisbane family of Bishopton acquired the lands of Killincraig in Largs.

In 1562, Robert Brisbane married Janette Stewart, a direct descendant of King Robert III, connecting your family to the Stewart lineage and even to Robert the Bruce. John Brisbane of that Ilk, who preceded his son in death in 1644, had a daughter named Elizabeth who became the heiress. As part of the marriage contract, her husband James Shaw was required to change his name. In 1686, Elizabeth Brisbane was fined for attending Presbyterian services, which were illegal at the time. In 1695, through a royal charter, the family estates in Ayrshire were elevated to a barony, and they adopted the name ‘Brisbane of Brisbane.’ John Brisbane of Bishopston represented Ayrshire in the final session of the old Scottish Parliament in 1707.

From the early eighteenth century, members of your family pursued military careers in service to the British Empire. Admiral John Brisbane fought in the American War of Independence, and three of his children died in active service while combating the French and the Spanish. In 1807, Rear Admiral Sir Charles Brisbane led the capture of the island of Curacao from the Dutch. General Sir Thomas Brisbane, Baronet, played a significant role in the Peninsular War, commanding a brigade in Wellington’s army. In 1820, he was appointed as the Governor of New South Wales in Australia, and the city of Brisbane was named in his honor. General Brisbane passed away at the age of eighty-six in 1860, predeceased by his three children. The family lands then passed to another relative, Charles Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane. Unfortunately, Charles and his wife, Florence Tatum Brisbane, had no children, leading to the extinction of this branch of the family. Brisbane House was demolished in 1940, but the family’s burial vault can still be seen in the grounds of the Old Kirk in Largs, serving as a testament to their enduring legacy.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: DABIT OTIA DEUS (God will give repose)

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