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

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

The name Lever is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the township of Great Lever in Lancashire as well as in Little Lever the chapelry in the parish of Bolton in Lancashire. According to history the Lever family were industrialists and millers, perhaps giving rise to the modern city of Liverpool, from their own Leaver's Port.

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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Lever has been spelled many different ways, including Lever, Leaver, Leyver and others.

First found in Lancashire at Little Lever, now a large village in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester. Great Lever, a township nearby "was long held by the family of Lever, but in the 6th year of Edward IV., Sir Rauff Assheton, Knt., sued out a 'write of right of warde' against Roger Lever, for the recovery of the manor, and obtained judgment against him at the assizes of Lancaster. Lever, however, with a number of dependants of his name, and a large concourse of persons, many of whom had been outlawed, riotously broke into Lancaster Castle, and carried off the record of recovery. Sir Rauff complaining of this outrage to the two houses of parliament, they ordained that the copy of the record which was annexed to his petition should be of the same force and efficacy as the original; and the justices thereupon ordered execution to issue, and reinstated him in the possession, which, notwithstanding, was not undisturbed until some time after. " [1] The village's name was derived from the Old English word "laefre," which means "place where the rushes grow." [2] The first listing of the place name was found in 1212 when it was listed as Parua Lefre. [2] Nearby is Darcy Lever which was the ancestral home of the D'Arcy family since 1590.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lever research. Another 171 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1521, 1577, 1551 and 1553 are included under the topic Early Lever History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 67 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lever Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Levers to arrive in North America:

Lever Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Ashton Lever and James Lever, who settled in Maryland in 1775

Lever Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Adam, James, John, Lawrence, and William Lever, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Lever Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Lever arrived in Canterbury aboard the ship "Hastings" in 1856

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  • Asbury Francis "Frank" Lever (1875-1940), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina (1901-1919)
  • Lafayette "Fat" Lever (b. 1960), retired American professional NBA basketball player, gold medalist at the 1979 FIBA U19 World Championship
  • Richard Hayley Lever (1875-1958), Australian-born, American painter, etcher, lecturer and art teacher
  • Henry Work Lever (1883-1980), American sportsperson and educator, 8th head coach of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in 1911
  • William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925), English Industrialist and colonialist, created 1st Viscount Leverhulme, he and his brother James Darcy Lever (1854-1910) founded the famed Lever Brothers in 1885
  • Sir Christopher Lever, English historian and author of natural history books
  • Jeremy Lever QC, English Lawyer, professor of Law at Oxford, knighted in 2002
  • John Kenneth Lever MBE (b. 1949), English former cricketer, PCA Player of the Year in 1978 and 1979
  • Sir Ashton Lever FRS (1729-1788), English collector of seashells, live animals; his collection was opened to the public in 1766 in Manchester
  • Sir James Darcy Lever, English politician, High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1735, father of Sir Ashton Lever

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 15 July 2015 at 08:58.

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