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


The origins of the name late are from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived 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 late 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.

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the late family name 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 late research. Another 276 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1086 and 1273 are included under the topic Early late History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the late 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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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the late surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

late Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jean Late, who arrived in America in 1777-1783

late Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Edward Late, aged 17, a plate layer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The late Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The late 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 3 December 2010 at 11:37.

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