It started with Maeda, a japanese judoka and fighter that supposedly had over a thousand fights, never losing. He is pictured to the left.
In 1914, Maeda settled in Brazil, opened a “Jiu Jitsu” academy. Carlos Gracie was his first student. After some training Carlos spread the knowledge to his brothers, most notably to Helio Gracie who innovated the heck out of it (together with his brothers).
After that, Carlos had 21 children and Helio had a few too. Notable children are Rorion who brought BJJ to the United States and started UFC, Rolls Gracie who was one of the key figures in developing “modern” jiu jitsu, and Rickson Gracie who is a legendary fighter and just an overall badass.
The rest is even more commonly known such as Royce Gracie in the UFC and Roger Gracie sitting comfortably on top of the jiu jitsu food chain for several years now.