Leas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

As a native Irish surname, Leas is derived from the Gaelic name Mac Laoidhigh, which comes from the word "laoidh," which means "a poem;" or from Mac Giolla Iosa, which means "son of the devotee of Jesus." However, Lee is also a common indigenous name in England, many families of which have been established in Ireland since at least the 17th century. [1]

Early Origins of the Leas family

The surname Leas was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they were prominent in the west being anciently associated as hereditary physicians to the O'Flahertys.

Families with the McLees or McAlees spellings were traditionally doctors or physicians.

By the 16th century different branches had developed in Galway, in Leix, and in Munster at Cork and Limerick. The name in Gaelic was O'Laidhigh.

Early History of the Leas family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leas research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1253, 1650, 1734 and 1600 are included under the topic Early Leas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leas Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Leas family name include McAlea, McAlee, MacAlee, MacAlea, MacLee, McLee, MacLees, McLees, MacLeas, McLeas, O'Lees, O'Leas, Lee and many more.

Early Notables of the Leas family (pre 1700)

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


United States Leas migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Leas to North America:

Leas Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Leas, aged 20, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [2]

Canada Leas migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Leas Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • George Leas, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757

Contemporary Notables of the name Leas (post 1700) +

  • Sheila Leas (b. 1950), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Hawaii, 2004 [3]
  • LeRoy P. Leas, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1928 [3]
  • John Wesley Leas, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Ohio State House of Representatives from Delaware County, 1897 [3]
  • James A. Leas, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, 1859-64 [3]
  • Henry Leas, American politician, Postmaster at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 1849-53, 1857-61 [3]
  • Fred A. Leas, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Philippine Islands, 1924 [3]
  • Charles A. Leas, American politician, U.S. Consul in Reval, 1859-61; Stockholm, 1861-62; Belize City, 1862-65 [3]
  • Bert V. Leas, American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Delaware, Ohio, 1912-14 [3]


The Leas 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: Fide et fortitudine
Motto Translation: By fidelity and fortitude.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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