I saw this story first in a Hartford Conn. newspaper in 1967. I can only assume that it has reappeared in numerous papers over the years. I reproduce it here as it was the first reference to our family name I had seen in print, prior to beginning the "Great NET Search" that inspired this Homepage. Although the original author was not credited in the 1967 copy my mother (Mary J Bradlee, Sidney Ohio) so thoughtfully saved all these years, a more current 199? printing of this story retitled "Whats in Your Name "(provided by Adela and James Bradlee of Jacksonville FL) credits Charles Guarino and Albert Seddon with the byline and was published in The Palm Beach Post.
Like our language, names change and develop throughout the centuries. We have Old English and Middle English and at times it is almost impossible to equate the two. The same applies to other languages and for this reason we must go to the specialist for our translations. When the Bradlee name first appeared on record it was spelled de Bradelai. Later it appeared as Brodelegh and today we have even more spellings of the same name. For instance Bradley, Bradly and Broadley are just three of the mutations in general use throughout the British Isles. We can trace the origin of the Bradlee name back to towns and villages called 'Bradley' in Lincolnshire, Warwiciksnire, Yorkshire (to mention only three) in England. Bradley evolved from the Old English 'brode' and 'leah' which together mean 'broad meadow'.
In the year 1170 the ancient Pipe Rolls bear the name William de Bradelai indicating that he possessed a piece of land. In the records of Yorkshire, the year 1379 a William Brodelegh appears. This proves that it was adopted as a surname at a time when the majority of people were still using personal names like 'John the tailor' or 'Henry the baker' etc.
The Bradlees were early arrivals in America as one of the records shows a Francis Bradlee as having sailed from England (born in Yorkshire) and arriving in Connecticut in the Year 1650. One of the important bearers of the name was James Bradley who was born in England in 1693- He was the astronomer who discovered the aberration of light mutation (nodding) of the earth's axis. He was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1742 by King George II.
One of the earliest coats of arms granted to the name bears three boars' heads colored gold between a golden chevron. The background is red.