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

Origins Available: French, German

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

The Lemay family name dates back to the time of Medieval France. It comes from an early member of the family from Normandy who was a person born in the month of May. A May birth was considered lucky as the month was a festive time in which the beginning of the growing season was celebrated.


History has changed the spelling of most surnames. During the early development of the French language in the Middle Ages, a person gave his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, there spelling variations of the name Lemay, some of which include LeMay, Lemay, Lemais, Lemaise, Lemmais, Lemmaise, Lemaises, Lemet, Lemez, Lemait, Lemaits, Dumay, Dumais, Dumez and many more.

First found in Normandy (French: Normandie), the former Duchy of Normandy, where the family anciently resided at Leme, a village in the department of l'Aisne, in the arrondisement of Vervins. By the 12th century the family name also moved south to Aquitaine and Languedoc. A branch was formed in Anjou at Poitiers.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lemay research. Another 205 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lemay History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


In the 1700s, land incentives were finally given out by France to 2,000 migrants. Early marriage was encouraged in New France, and youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted migrants, both noble and commoner from France. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries, leaving French names scattered across the continent. The search for the Northwest passage continued. Migration from France to New France or Quebec, as it was now more popularly called, continued until 1759. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In the treaty of Utrecht, Acadia were ceded by France to Britain in 1713. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported. They found refuge in Louisiana. Meanwhile, in Quebec, the French race flourished, founding in Lower Canada, one of the two great solitudes which became Canada. Many of this distinguished family name Lemay were prominent in social, cultural, religious and political affairs in France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Lemay were

Lemay Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas LeMay, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

Lemay Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Albert Lemay, aged 23, who landed in America from Paris, France, in 1910
  • Jeannette Lemay, aged 22, who emigrated to the United States from Paris France, in 1911
  • Josephine Lemay, aged 61, who landed in America from Paris France, in 1911
  • Octave Lemay, aged 62, who settled in America from Paris France, in 1911
  • Abondius Lemay, aged 35, who landed in America from St. Nazaire, France, in 1915


  • General Curtis Emerson Lemay (1906-1990), General in the American Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of independent candidate George C. Wallace in 1968
  • Alan LeMay (1899-1964), American Writer and movie Director
  • Harding Lemay (b. 1922), American screenwriter and playwright, former head writer of the soap opera Another World (1971 to 1979)
  • Lynda Lemay (b. 1966), Canadian singer/songwriter from Quebec
  • Maurice "Moe" Lemay (b. 1962), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey player from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who played 317 games
  • Marc Lemay (b. 1951), Canadian politician from Amos, Quebec
  • Annie Lemay (b. 1977), Canadian silver and bronze medalist curler from Trois-Rivières, Quebec


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  1. de la Porte, A. Tresor Heraldique. Paris: F. Casterman, 1864. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  5. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Conrad, Glenn R. The First Families of Louisiana. Baton Rouge LA: Claitor's Publishing, 1970. Print.
  11. ...

The Lemay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Lemay 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 18 February 2013 at 15:51.

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