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Although the most natural origin to attribute this name to is of the original bearer's diminutive size, and many genealogists make this error, the name is actually derived from the manor of Liddel, in Cumberland England.

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The surname Little was first found in Roxburghshire, where Richard de Lidel had a grant of lands from the Church of Largs in 1202. The Little Clan territory followed the banks of the River Esk and part of Ewarsdale, and their immediate neighbors were the Armstrongs, Elliots and Beatties. Adam Lityll was a tenant of the Douglas Clan in the barony of Kilbucho in 1376. A branch also moved further northward to Aberdeen, but the main branch of the Clan remained around Roxburghshire. By 1350, they had become an established Clan closely affiliated to the Douglases and their territories were located in the Scottish West Marches, approximately twenty miles due north of Carlisle.

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Little has been spelled Little, Littel, Littell and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Little research. Another 242 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Little History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Little Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Little family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlanti c. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Little Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Benjamin Little, who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1630
  • George Little, who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Fra Little, who arrived in Virginia in 1650
  • Anthony and his wife Frances Little settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Antho Little, who arrived in Virginia in 1650
  • ...

Little Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Abraham Little, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Cornelius Little, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Jasper Little, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Edward Little, who landed in New England in 1727
  • Archibald Little, who arrived in New England in 1731
  • ...

Little Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Blakely Little, who landed in New York in 1801
  • Francis Little, who landed in Maryland in 1803
  • Jane Little, who landed in America in 1805
  • James Little, who landed in America in 1805
  • Archd Little, who landed in America in 1805
  • ...

Little Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Otis Little, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Otis Little, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Charles Little, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Eliza Little, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Little, aged 27, arrived in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1774
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Little Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Pat Little, who landed in Canada in 1816
  • Robert Little, aged 40, a tailor, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Silestria" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Owen Little, aged 35, a fisherman, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway, Ireland
  • Biddy Little, aged 27, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway, Ireland
  • Martin Little, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway, Ireland
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Little Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Ann Little, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Francis Little arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1837
  • John Archibald Little arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839
  • Janet Little arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839
  • Archibald Little arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839
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Little Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Matthew H. Little, aged 27, a merchant, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1843
  • Robert Little, aged 34, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Shamrock" in 1856
  • William Little arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Golconda" in 1859
  • James Little arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1863
  • Robert Little, aged 21, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Helenslee" in 1864
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  • Jane Little (1929-2016), born Jane Findley, an American classical double bass player for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Henry F. W. Little (1842-1907), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Lewis Henry Little (1817-1862), Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War
  • Floyd Douglas Little (b. 1942), American Pro Football Hall of Fame running back
  • David Gene Little (b. 1961), former professional American NFL football tight end
  • Cleavon Jake Little (1939-1992), American Emmy Award winning, BAFTA Award nominated film and theatre actor, best known for his role in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles
  • William Brian Little (1942-2000), American founding partner of Forstmann Little & Company
  • Elizabeth O'Connor "Betty" Little (b. 1940), American politician, New York State Senator
  • Bentley Little (b. 1960), American author of horror novels, recipient of the 1990 Bram Stoker Award
  • Little Ann Little (1910-1981), born Ann L. Rothschild, American voice actress, best known as the voice of Betty Boop
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Little Historic Events



Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Susan  Little (1862-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Bernard  Little, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Joseph  Little (1901-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Harold  Little (1904-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Clyde  Little (1905-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Francis Donald Little (b. 1917), British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. George Little, English Second Senior 3rd Engineer from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Miss Alice Laura Little, American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mrs. Margaret Little, American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
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  • The Little Family: Ancestors and Descendants of Jonas Little Pioneer Settler to Tennessee by Dessie Little Simmons.
  • A Genealogy [sic] of the Little-Odom Family of Georgia and North Carolina by Lawrence L. Little.
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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: Magnum in parvo
Motto Translation: Great things in a little

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Little Clan Badge
Little Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Little
Little and more.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    2. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
    3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
    4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    5. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
    6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    7. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
    8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    11. ...

    The Little Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Little 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 30 May 2016 at 16:05.

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