Show ContentsLeaf History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Leaf has two distinct possible entomological origins. Firstly, the name could have been derived from the Old English personal name "Leofa" and/or "Leofe", both meaning "Dear" or "Beloved." Secondly, the name could have been a topographical name for someone who lived in a densely foliated area from the Middle English word "leaf."

Early Origins of the Leaf family

The surname Leaf was first found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Leaf family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leaf research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1198, 1273, 1279, 1318, 1327, 1377, 1677, and 1754 are included under the topic Early Leaf History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leaf Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Leaf include Leaf, Leaff, Leaffe, Leafe, Leif, Lief, Life, Lef, Leof, Leefe, Leve and many more.

Early Notables of the Leaf family (pre 1700)

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

Leaf Ranking

In the United States, the name Leaf is the 10,474th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Leaf migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Leaf or a variant listed above:

Leaf Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Dennis Leaf who sailed to Pennsylvania in 1865

West Indies Leaf migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [2]
Leaf Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Henry Leaf who arrived in Barbados in 1663

Contemporary Notables of the name Leaf (post 1700) +

  • Martin Leaf, American politician, Mayor of Willmar, Minnesota, 1942 [3]
  • James P. Leaf, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 26th District, 1926 [3]
  • Alexander Leaf, American physician and faculty member of Harvard University
  • Caroline Leaf (b. 1946), Canadian independent filmmaker and animator
  • Walter Leaf (1852-1927), British Classical scholar, banker, and pioneer of psychical research
  • Leaf Van Boven, American Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 28) . Retrieved from on Facebook