The English surname Brainard, also spelled Brainerd, is of toponymic origin, deriving from the town of Brain in Hainault, Normandy where the family were nobles of St. Empire. The name was brought to Britain following the Norman invasion in 1066. The family settled in Gloucestershire where they were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy for distinguished service at the Battle of Hastings. The first record of the name in the New World is in 1649 when a Daniel Brainard is recorded in Hartford Connecticut. W.H. Brainard arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851. Today there are approximately 4,000 bearers of the name Brainard in the United States.
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