Laity History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Laity family

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.

Early History of the Laity family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Laity research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Laity History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Laity Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Laity family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Laity family to Ireland

Some of the Laity family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Laity migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Laity were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Laity Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Laity, (b. 1817), aged 31, Cornish miner departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 18th October 1848 [1]
  • Mrs. Harriet Laity, (b. 1820), aged 28, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 18th October 1848 [1]
  • Mr. Richard Laity, (b. 1844), aged 4, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 18th October 1848 [1]
  • Mr. Edward Thomas Laity, (b. 1845), aged 3, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 18th October 1848 [1]
  • Mr. William Laity, (b. 1802), aged 46, Cornish carpenter departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 18th October 1848 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Laity Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Richard Henry Laity, (b. 1883), aged 20, Cornish miner, from Camborne, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 16th May 1903 en route to Houghton, Michigan, USA [2]
  • Mr. William G. Laity, (b. 1879), aged 24, Cornish mason travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 15th March 1903 en route to Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA [2]
  • Mr. William Laity, (b. 1887), aged 17, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 22nd May 1904 en route to Hornitos, California, USA [2]
  • Mr. William George Laity, (b. 1880), aged 24, Cornish mason travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 3rd September 1904 en route to Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA [2]
  • Mr. William John Laity, (b. 1861), aged 43, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 1st October 1904 en route to California, USA [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Laity migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Laity Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Laity, a engineer, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. William Laity, (b. 1823), aged 29, Cornish miner departing from Falmouth in April 1852 aboard the ship "Augusta Schneider" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 24th August 1852 [3]
  • Mr. Ralph Laity, (b. 1826), aged 28, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Historia" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 7th August 1854 [4]
  • Mr. Joseph Laity, (b. 1833), aged 22, Cornish agricultural labourer departing from Plymouth on 27th September 1854 aboard the ship "Birmingham" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 6th January 1855 [4]
  • Mrs. Sarah Laity, (b. 1837), aged 18, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 27th September 1854 aboard the ship "Birmingham" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 6th January 1855 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Laity migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Laity Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Laity, (b. 1853), aged 21, Cornish miner departing on 20th March 1874 aboard the ship "Northampton" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 6th June 1874 [5]
  • Mrs. Eliza Laity, (b. 1856), aged 18, Cornish settler departing on 20th March 1874 aboard the ship "Northampton" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 6th June 1874 [5]
  • Mr. William F. Laity, (b. 1852), aged 25, Cornish farm labourer departing on 24th August 1877 aboard the ship "Waitara" going to Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand arriving in port on 4th December 1877 [6]

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Douglas Laity (d. 1945), British Canteen Assistant aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [7]


  1. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  2. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  3. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  7. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html


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