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


The laity family name is linked to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from the baptismal name Lettice, a popular girls name in medieval times. This personal name was originally derived from the Latin laetitia, which means gladness and joy. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames.

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The surname laity was first found in Gloucestershire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Lett, before the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086.

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of laity include Lett, Layt, Laite, Layte, Let, Lete, Latt, Leyt, Letts, Lettson and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our laity research. Another 276 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1086 and 1273 are included under the topic Early laity History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the laity family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

laity Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Rundle Laity, aged 21, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "David Malcolm"
  • John Laity, aged 35, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"

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  1. 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.
  2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The laity Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The laity 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 27 October 2010 at 13:45.

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