As the story goes Samuel Bradley of Dorchester, MA b.Oct 5 1707, d.July 7, 1768 changed the spelling of his last name to Bradlee because there were too many Bradleys in the Boston area. That does not answer the question of why there are Bradlee's in the 1732 Census of New Hampshire or the reports of Francis Bradlee as having sailed from England (born in Yorkshire) and arriving in Connecticut in the Year 1650.
What we do know is that four of Samuel's sons, his daughter and his son-in-law were responsible for the planning and execution of the Boston Tea Party, making them famous enough to have their family genealogy well documented.
My initial Net-search into the Bradlee Surname, revealed that there were about 75 households listed in the phone book under the Bradlee spelling, along with only about a dozen businesses that have the Bradlee name in their title. A more exhaustive search has now located close to 100 households are currently using the Bradlee spelling. An exact census of living Bradlees is currently under way.
A deeper search of several genealogical databases revealed the names of close to 200 more Bradlees (all deceased) dating from the early 1700's to the latest Social Security death benefits records.
In contrast a phone record search of the Bradley spelling of the name came up with 17,128 residences and 1243 business listings in the US alone. So the next time someone comments on the unique spelling of the Bradlee name you can proudly point out that it is less than One Half of One Percent spell it with two E's and no Y!
If you are a BRADLEE or are related to one PLEASE contact me BOB@BRADLEE.ORG We are always in need of clarification regarding the relationship of the many stray family members, both past and present. In addition I would like to keep the family records updated with regards to births, deaths, marriages, and of course separations and name changes as a result of the dreaded "D"word.
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