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

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish lawless family come from? When did the lawless family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the lawless family history?

The surname lawless is derived from the Old English word "laweles," which means "lawless" and is ultimately derived from the Old English word "laghles," which means "outlaw." As a surname, lawless came from a nickname for a person who was an outlaw, or was uncontrolled or unrestrained. The Gaelic form of the surname lawless is Laighléis.

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Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name lawless, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Lawless, Lovelace, Lovelass, Loveless and others.

First found in Glamorganshire (Welsh: Sir Forgannwg), a region of South Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Glywysing, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our lawless research. Another 231 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1599, 1564, 1634, 1610, 1626, 1616, 1670, 1618, 1657, 1641, 1693, 1735, 1799, 1789, 1621 and 1675 are included under the topic Early lawless History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early lawless Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name lawless:

lawless Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Nich Lawless, who landed in Virginia in 1698

lawless Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Patrick Lawless, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Cornelius Lawless, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • James Lawless who settled in Virginia in 1739

lawless Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Mathew Lawless, aged 30, arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Peter Lawless, who landed in New York in 1839
  • Rose Lawless, aged 41, landed in New York, NY in 1849
  • M Lawless, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Richd Lawless, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1854


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  • John "Jack" Lawless (b. 1987), American musician
  • Thomas James "Tom" Lawless (b. 1956), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1982 to 1990
  • Theodore K Lawless (1892-1971), American dermatologist, medical researcher, and philanthropist
  • Blackie Lawless (b. 1956), born Steven Edward Duren, an American songwriter and musician, best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the heavy metal band W.A.S.P
  • Richard Burton Lawless (b. 1953), former American college and professional NFL football player
  • John A. Lawless, American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1991-2002)
  • Emily Lawless (1845-1913), Irish novelist and poet
  • Nicholas Lawless (1735-1799), Irish wool merchant, banker and politician, Member of Parliament for Lifford (1776-1789), created 1st Baron Cloncurry in the Peerage of Ireland, in 1789
  • Valentine Brown Lawless (1773-1853), 2nd Baron Cloncurry, was an Irish politician and landowner
  • Edward Lawless (1816-1869), 3rd Baron Cloncurry, Irish peer

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  4. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  5. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 1 September 2014 at 10:48.

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