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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Chinese, English, Irish

Where did the English Lee family come from? What is the English Lee family crest and coat of arms? When did the Lee family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Lee family history?

The name Lee was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Lee family lived in any of the various places named Leigh in England. There are at least 16 counties that contain a place named Leigh. The place-name was originally derived from the Old English word leah, which means wood clearing. The English Lee family is descended from the Norman Lee family.The family name Lee became popular in England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. The Normans frequently adopted the names of their recently acquired estates in England.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Leigh, Lee, Lea, Legh, Leghe, Ligh, Lighe, Leyie, Ley and many more.

First found in Cheshire, where the Lee family held a family seat from the years following the Norman Conquest of 1066. King William granted the lands of England to those who had served him in the Battle of Hastings. Many of these land barons adopted the name of their new holdings as a surname, according to the Norman custom. Thus, the first bearer of the name was Hamond Leigh, who was Lord of the Manor of High Leigh in Cheshire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lee research. Another 349 words(25 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1660, 1640, 1642, 1583, 1662, 1639, 1667, 1660, 1667, 1634, 1687, 1656, 1659, 1653, 1692, 1692, 1662, 1701, 1651, 1711, 1702, 1705, 1681, 1760, 1663, 1716, 1678, 1721, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Lee History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 383 words(27 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Lee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 141 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Lee or a variant listed above:

Lee Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Bridget Lee, who landed in America in 1620
  • Samuel Lee, who arrived in America in 1620
  • Tryphasa Lee, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • Tryphosa Lee, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • Wm Lee, who arrived in Virginia in 1633

Lee Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Pricilla Lee, who arrived in Virginia in 1700
  • Hump Lee, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Eliz Lee, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Bryan Lee, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Philip Lee, who landed in Virginia in 1712

Lee Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Charles Lee, who arrived in New York in 1800
  • Arthur Lee, who landed in America in 1801-1802
  • Ezekiel Lee, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Ephraim Lee, aged 26, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Edwd Lee, aged 23, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803

Lee Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Sol N Lee, who arrived in New York, NY in 1900
  • Halvor Olson Lee, who landed in Wisconsin in 1907


  • Stan Lee (b. 1922), American chairman of Marvel Comics and creator of such legendary comic book heroes as Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, and Dr. Strange
  • Nelle Harper Lee (b. 1926), American author who received the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her only novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States in 2007 for her contribution to literature
  • Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (b. 1957), American filmmaker known for his sometimes controversial portrayals of African-American life
  • Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), American signer of Declaration of Independence
  • Bruce Lee (1940-1973), American (Eurasian descent) martial artist, instructor, and actor widely regarded as one of the most influential martial artists of the twentieth century
  • Captain Daniel W Lee Sr. (1919-1985), American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • David Morris Lee (b. 1931), American physicist who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Mark Charles Lee (b. 1952), former NASA astronaut with 4 shuttle missions and over 32 days in space
  • Lieutenant-General John Clifford Hodges Lee (1887-1958), American Deputy Commander in Chief Allied Forces Mediterranean (1946-1947)
  • Brigadier-General Raymond Eliot Lee (1886-1958), American Commandant Field Artillery Replacement Training Center Fort Sill (1944-1945)



  • Descendants & Ancestors of Charles & Fanny Crandall Lee by Earl Lee Smith.
  • Lee of Virginia by Edmund Jennings Lee.
  • Hezekiah Leigh by John D. Gifford.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Force avec vertu
Motto Translation: Strength with virtue.


  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Lee Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Lee Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 September 2014 at 03:18.

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