Select Brooks Surname Genealogy

Here are some Brooks stories and accounts over the years:

Brooks and Brooke in England

Brooke, Brookes and Brooks developed as surnames in England, although the Brooke (and Brook) name was mainly confined to Yorkshire.

1891 Census - 000's
South East

Brooke and Brooks were sometimes interchangeable.  An examination of the 1841 and 1851 censuses shows many instances of Brook/Brooke in 1841 becoming Brooks in 1851.

The Death of John Charles Brooke

John Charles Brooke the antiquarian attended the Haymarket Theater in Pall Mall, London with Benjamin Pingo of the York Herald on February 3, 1794.  Both men were crushed to death in a crowd of well-wishers eager to see the King at the side door of the theatre. 

According to Walter Thornbury: "Mr Brooke had died standing, as he was found as if asleep, and with color still in his cheeks."

Brooks from Whalley in Lancashire

The Brooks were originally farmers in Whalley near Clitheroe on the river Ribble.  William Brooks traded in cotton and, in partnership with a wealthy friend Roger Cunliffe, started a bank in Blackburn. 

His son Samuel opened a branch in Manchester and began to acquire land around Manchester.  He was known in the Stretford neighborhood as “owd stink o’brass.”  Whalley Range, one of Manchester’s first suburbs built as “a desirable estate for gentlemen and their families,” was named by him after his home village.  In Hale Barns he left his name in Brooks Drive, Brooklands Road and Brooklands Station. 

During the late 19th century, his son Sir William Cunliffe-Brooks served as the local MP and enjoyed the role of lord of the manor at Hale Barns.

The Brooks Version of Battle Hymn of the Republic

This was the New England Brooks version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. 

“There’s something strong and mighty in a good old family name; 
The name of Brooks shines very high upon the scroll of fame;
For nearly all the Tribe of Brooks pursue a lofty aim. 
The clan goes marching on! 

Glory to our grand old family, 
Virile, worthy, brave and loyal! 
Ut Am-nis vi-ta la-bi-tur!.
The clan goes marching on! 

William, Henry, Thomas, James were fathers of our clan; 
Posterity of David and Nathaniel never ran; 
Samuel Brooks was virile, Maurice was a sturdy man. 
The clan goes marching on! 

David was a hero and of Washington a friend; 
Phillips was a wise man whom the world could comprehend; 
William fought and gave his life, his country to defend. 
The clan goes marching on! 

The Clan of Brooks is mighty with two hundred thousand strong; 
In seventy-six, five hundred kinsmen fought to right a wrong; 
Twenty towns now bear our name.  Sure, let us sing that song. 
The clan goes marching on!"

John Brooks of Bladen County, North Carolina

Family tradition has it that John Brooks brought his wife, Susan, and six sons to Virginia, lived there a short while, and then moved onto North Carolina around 1735. 

At that time he was granted land in Bladen county.  Bible records showed that he came from near the mouth of the James River in Virginia. Through succeeding generations there has been handed down a chest known as the "Sea Chest" and said to have been brought from England by Susan Brooks, his wife.   On the side of the chest in the original lettering is "S.B – 1735." 

An estate sale in Orange county, North Carolina in 1762 referred to him as "Old Brooks."  He was born about 1690 and died about 1766. 

A genealogy of the family written by Joseph Headen in 1869 said the following: 

“John Brooks first stopped in the West Indies with his five other brothers, then they came to Virginia and stopped for awhile.  There the brothers separated, three of them went North, the other three came South.  The first Brooks that ever lived in Chatham county came from Fayetteville, North Carolina, having owned that land where the town now stands.” 

Joseph Headen had married a great granddaughter of John Brooks and was born during the lifetime of some of his sons. 

Records suggest that John Brooks was a man of influence.  His family in England had been notable before they came to America.  Named among the incorporators of the Virginia Company, 1609 was Sir John Brooks, listed "in Virginia Commission 1631."  So it is easy to understand why John Brooks came to America and was immediately identified as a member of the Courts in his adopted land. 

He also seems to have been a man of wealth.  He built what was then considered a costly home. The house was a two story building, framed, weather boarded, ceiled and had glass windows and paneled doors.  The building survived until about 1940.

Brooks/Bruck, Jewish Pioneers in California

In 1852 Julius Brooks returned to his native village of Frankenstein in Germany, having lived in America for five years. In that year he met Fanny Bruck who became intrigued by his tales of adventure and begged him to take her with him back to America.  Fanny Bruck married Julius Brooks when she was sixteen in August 1853. The newly-wed couple sailed at once from Hamburg to America. 

As was the custom in those days, the entire town of Frankenstein came to the train to see them off.  They brought rice, flowers, old shoes, and called after them "Good Luck," "God-Speed" and "Early Return."  Julius and Fanny took a room at a boarding house on East 14th Street.  In the spring of 1854, they left New York, for Galena in Illinois, where they heard that a company was leaving the following June for California. 

They had to go by boat from Galena to Florence and there they purchased a covered wagon and two little mules in order to be comfortable (otherwise they would have been compelled to walk).  Ten individuals were the number allotted to each wagon and one tent. 

The wagon bed was 12 feet long, 3 feet 4 inches wide, and 18 inches deep.  Each wagon was supplied with 100 lbs. of flour, 50 lbs. of sugar, 50 lbs. of bacon, 50 lbs. of rice, 30 lbs. of beans, 20 lbs. of dried apples, 20 lbs. of dried peaches, 5 lbs. of tea, 1 gallon of vinegar, 10 bars of soap, 25 lbs. of salt. 

These articles and the milk from their cows, the game caught on the plains, and the fresh water streams furnished them better food and more of it than the immigrants had had in their native land.  Fanny said that the Yankees were lovely people but very wasteful and poor cooks.  Their main forte was bread, pies and hotcakes, ham or bacon and eggs.  Their vegetables were cooked without taste and their meats either done to death or raw. 

However, Fanny’s dream of striking it rich in America was not realized.  They settled in Marysville, California, where Julius opened a general store.  Fanny died in Wiesbaden in Germany in 1901.

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