Greenleaf History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Greenleaf is a habitational name taken on one of the places named Greenlees, in Lanarkshire. The place name comes from the Scots words "gre-ne" meaning "green," and "ley(s)," meaning a "a meadow." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Greenleaf family

The surname Greenleaf was first found in Berwickshire. [3]

"[Greenlaw, Berwickshire] is supposed to have derived its name from the situation of the ancient village on one of those conical eminences of which there are several in the parish, which eminence, from its superior verdure, obtained the appellation of the Green Law." [4]

"This is the name of an old family in Berwickshire, derived from their lands there. They may have been an offshoot from the Dunbars. William de Grenlawa, c. 1180. An agreement between the abbot of Kelso and Roland de Grenelawe regarding the chapel was made c. 1200. Magister William de Grenlau, a churchman, witnessed a charter by Walter, bishop of Glasgow, c. 1208-18, and in 1221 was one of a number appointed to settle a dispute between the churches of Glasgow and Kelso, and c. 1221-31 witnessed the grant of the church of Lympetlaw to Kelso Abbey. In 1233 he witnessed resignation of the lands of Eduluestun to the church of Glasgow. William of Greenlaw, son of Roland, son of William, witnessed Melrose documents of 1236-37, and held lands in Hawington of Robert de Muschamp, part of which he gave to Melrose Abbey before 1247, in which year he died." [5]

Early History of the Greenleaf family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenleaf research. Another 302 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1574, 1689, 1296, 1306, 1868, 1327, 1361, 1386, 1422, 1424, 1426, 1439, 1452, 1503, 1729, 1820, 1696, 1354 and 1421 are included under the topic Early Greenleaf History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenleaf Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Greenlees, Greenleaf, Greenleas, Greenles and others.

Early Notables of the Greenleaf family (pre 1700)

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

Greenleaf Ranking

In the United States, the name Greenleaf is the 5,822nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]


United States Greenleaf migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenleaf Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edmond Greenleaf, who landed in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635 [7]
  • Stephen Greenleaf, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1657 [7]
Greenleaf Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Captain Greenleaf was in the 3rd regiment of the Massachusetts during the Revolution in 1776
  • David Greenleaf, who arrived in Mississippi in 1799 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenleaf (post 1700) +

  • Stewart John Greenleaf Sr. (1939-2021), American politician and attorney, Member of the Pennsylvania Senate (1979-2019)
  • William Greenleaf (b. 1948), American author
  • George Franklin Greenleaf Jr. (1874-1936), American football player and medical doctor
  • Halbert Stevens Greenleaf (1827-1906), U.S. Representative from New York
  • Robert K. Greenleaf (1904-1990), founder of the modern Servant leadership movement
  • Ralph Greenleaf (1899-1950), American professional pool and carom billiards player
  • Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), American lawyer and jurist
  • Stewart J. Greenleaf, Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate
  • David Greenleaf, American politician, Member of Mississippi Territorial House of Representatives, 1813 [8]
  • Charles Henry Greenleaf (1841-1924), American Republican politician, Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives, 1895-96, 1901-02; Member of New Hampshire State Senate 2nd District, 1897-98 [8]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Greenleaf Motto +

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: Viresco
Motto Translation: I flourish.


  1. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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