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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Chinese, English, Irish


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. [1] 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.

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The surname Lee was first found in Cheshire, at High Leigh, where the name is from "an eminent family, who for centuries in that county nearly all the gentry families of that name claim descent." [2] Of note are the following ancient families: Legh of East Hall, in High Legh, county Chester, descended from Efward de Lega, who lived at or near the period of the Conquest and who appears to have a Saxon origin; Leigh of West Hall, in High Leigh, originally De Lynne who married a Legh heiress in the 13th century; and Leigh of Adlestrop (Baron Leigh) county Gloucester, descended from Agens, daughter and heiress of Richard de Legh. [3] Leigh is a fairly common place name that dates back to pre-Conquest times as Leigh, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were both listed as Beornothesleah in 972. [1] There are over nineteen villages that are either named Leigh or include Leigh in their name throughout Britain.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lee research. Another 503 words (36 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1563, 1614, 1589, 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.

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Another 435 words (31 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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

Lee Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Benjamin Lee, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Edward Lee, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Mr. Daniel Lee Sr., U.E. (b. 1754) born in Worcester, England from Pembroke, Maine, USA who settled in St. George, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 married to Martha Ash they had 9 children, he died in 1818 Bonny River, New Brunswick
  • Mr. David Lee U.E. who settled in Bastard [Rideau Lakes], Leeds and Greenville, Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. Edward Lee U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784


Lee Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Lee, aged 20, a smith, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • Sarah Lee, aged 26, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo
  • Daniel Lee, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo
  • Judith Lee, aged 10, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" from Galway
  • John Lee, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin


Lee Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Mrs. Lee, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Miss E Lee, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Miss F Lee, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • H Lee, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • J Lee, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Lee Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Benjamin Lee, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Lee, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Henry Lee, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Henry James Lee, aged 15, a labourer, arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Africaine" in 1836


Lee Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Walter Lee landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Michael Lee, aged 20, a sawyer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cuba" in 1840
  • James Lee, aged 30, a farmer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Lee, aged 26, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Andrew Lee, aged 18, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850


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  • Nelle Harper Lee (1926-2016), 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
  • Jack Ross "Jacky" Lee (1939-2016), American AFL quarterback who played from 1960 to 1969
  • James Bainbridge "Jimmy" Lee Jr. (1952-2015), American investment banker, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • McDowell Lee (1925-2014), American politician, member of the Alabama House of Representatives (1955-1962), Secretary of the Alabama Senate (1963-2011)
  • Brigadier-General William Lecel Lee (1903-1976), American Commanding General 13th Air Force (1954-1956)
  • Major-General William Carey Lee (1895-1948), American Commanding General 101st Airborne Division (1942-1944)
  • General Robert Merrill Lee (1909-2003), American Commander of the Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, Colorado (1961-1963)
  • Brigadier-General Raymond Eliot Lee (1886-1958), American Commandant Field Artillery Replacement Training Center Fort Sill (1944-1945)
  • Lieutenant-General John Clifford Hodges Lee (1887-1958), American Deputy Commander in Chief Allied Forces Mediterranean (1946-1947)
  • Mark Charles Lee (b. 1952), former NASA astronaut with 4 shuttle missions and over 32 days in space

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  • Descendants & Ancestors of Charles & Fanny Crandall Lee by Earl Lee Smith.
  • Lee of Virginia by Edmund Jennings Lee.
  • Hezekiah Leigh by John D. Gifford.
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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: Force avec vertu
Motto Translation: Strength with virtue.

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  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 13 May 2016 at 13:10.

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