Brooks is a surname of Germanic/French origin, that is thought to have been derived from the condition of either residing near a stream (or brook). The first known reference to the name "Brooks" comes from one of the barons (deBruc) who accompanied William the Conqueror (1066) in the invasion of Britain. The word "brook" derives from the Old English broc and appears in the Medieval predecessors of "Brooks" such as "Ate-Broc" and "Atte-Broc". The surname arrived in North America from England in the mid-seventeenth century.
The surname is recorded in Ireland from the 1600s. O'Laughlin reports that "some of the name could stem from Irish origins, the name being changed into the English word 'Brook' or Brooks." The surname is also found among English-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, deriving from the male Hebrew given name Boruch, meaning "blessed".
The surname Brooks is shared by many notable people:
- Allison Brooks (1917–2006), American aviator
- Dallas Brooks, Australian general and politician
- Horace Brooks (1814–1894), American army officer
- Hubert Brooks (1921–1984), Canadian air force officer and hockey player
- Leo A. Brooks, Jr. (b. 1957), American general
- Leo A. Brooks, Sr., American general
- Mel Brooks (b. 1926), American comic actor, writer, director, and theatrical producer
- Micah Brooks (1775–1857), American politician
- Oliver Brooks, British soldier
- Rosa Brooks, American law professor
- Sidney Johnson Brooks, Jr. (d. 1917), American aviator for whom Brooks Air Force Base was named
- Trevor Brooks (b. 1975), British alleged terrorist, also known as Abu Izzadeen
- (PDF) Origin and History of the Name of Brooks: With Biographies of All the Most Noted Persons of that Name. The Crescent Family Record. Chicago, Illinois (United States): American Publishers' Association. 2007-06-06 . http://books.google.com/books?id=cGE2AAAAMAAJ. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "The name of Brooks is said to have derived from residence near a stream."
- Harper, Douglas (November 2001). "brook". Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=brook. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
- "brook". Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1989 ed.). New York: Portland House. 1989. pp. 189. ISBN 0-517-68781-X.
- Michael C. O'Laughlin. The Book of Irish Families, Great & Small. http://books.google.ie/books?id=mZt3oGtk1KgC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=brooks+surname+origin+ireland&source=bl&ots=or3uBoUkuu&sig=PxX5nJvULVsAyl9A_yDxCiZG6nQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wFvgUf-dJsqO0AWsoYCQDA&ved=0CE0Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=brooks%20surname%20origin%20ireland&f=false.
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