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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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.


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.


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.


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


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 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 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 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

Leonard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Catherina Leonard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Catherine Leonard, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Mrs. Leonard, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778

Leonard Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Condon Leonard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • Abraham Leonard, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • Francis Leonard, who arrived in Canada in 1834
  • Reuben Leonard, who landed in Canada in 1834
  • John Leonard, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway

Leonard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Henry Leonard, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Harriett Leonard arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Theresa" in 1847
  • Lucy Leonard arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Theresa" in 1847
  • Andrew Leonard arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • Walter Leonard arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caspar" in 1849

Leonard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Robert Leonard arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sydenham" in 1870
  • Sarah Leonard arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • William Leonard, aged 24, a mason, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Mary Leonard, aged 20, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879


  • 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



  • Grigsby X. Leonard by Carroll Mendenhall Leonard.
  • Plath (Plaat), Lenhart (also Leonard) & Hankin by Marion Plath Petersen.

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. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. 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).
  3. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  9. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. 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 26 February 2015 at 09:20.

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