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

Origins Available: French, Irish, Scottish

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

There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different than their original, ancient forms. Leonard originally appeared in Gaelic as O Leannain, which is possibly derived from the word leann, which denotes a cloak. Another possible derivation is from the word leanan, which means paramour.

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Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Leonard family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Lennon, Lannin, Lannon, Linnane, O'Lennon, Lennane, Leonard, MacAlinion, O'Lennan and many more.

First found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leonard research. Another 183 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leonard History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Leonard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Leonard family in North America:

Leonard Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Solomon Leonard, who landed in Massachusetts in 1633
  • James Leonard settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Katherine Leonard, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Henry Leonard settled in Massachusetts in 1640
  • Thomas Leonard settled in Barbados in 1660


Leonard Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Cha Leonard, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Richard Leonard, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Pierre Leonard, who landed in Louisiana in 1718-1724
  • Jean Baptiste Léonard, who lived in New Orleans with his two sons in 1727
  • Frédéric Léonard, who was a property owner in New Orleans in 1732


Leonard Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Leonard, who arrived in America in 1801
  • John Leonard, who arrived in New York in 1802
  • Jane Leonard, aged 20, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Robert Leonard, aged 21, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Rog Leonard, who landed in New York, NY in 1812


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  • Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard (b. 1956), American retired professional boxer who won world titles in five weight divisions
  • Frederick Charles Leonard (1896-1960), American astrophysicist
  • William Ellery Leonard (1876-1944), American poet
  • Harlan Leonard (1905-1983), American jazz bandleader and clarinetist
  • Sheldon Leonard (1907-1997), American prolific television writer, actor and producer
  • Sergeant First Class Matthew Leonard (1929-1967), American Army soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War
  • Herman Leonard (1923-2010), American photographer known for his unique images of jazz icons
  • Elmore John Leonard Jr. (1925-2013), American novelist and screenwriter
  • Joshua Granville Leonard (b. 1975), American actor
  • First Lieutenant Turney W Leonard (1921-1944), American Army officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944

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  • Grigsby X. Leonard by Carroll Mendenhall Leonard.
  • Plath (Plaat), Lenhart (also Leonard) & Hankin by Marion Plath Petersen.
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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: Prisco stirpe hibernico
Motto Translation: Of an ancient Irish stock

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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  6. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Leonard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Leonard 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 21 July 2014 at 18:55.

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