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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The surname Leatherman was an occupational name for a tanner, derived from the German word "lederaere," meaning "leather worker." While patronymic and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the name of the father and mother respectively, are the most common form of a hereditary surname in Germany, occupational surnames also emerged during the late Middle Ages. Many people, such as the Leatherman family, adopted the name of their occupation as their surname.


The surname Leatherman was first found in Austria, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region. Chronicles first mention Heynke Lederer of Liegnitz in 1372, and Sigfrid der Ledergaerwe of Schorndorf in 1302. The family branched into many houses, and their contributions were sought by many leaders in their search for power.

In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Leatherman include Lederer, Leder, Lederman, Ledermann, Lederle and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leatherman research. Another 321 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1723, 1778, 1795, 1842, and 1860 are included under the topic Early Leatherman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


During this period prominent bearers of the name Leatherman were August Gottlob von Lederer (1723-1795), who was an Austrian state official. He was born in Saxony, where his father was a highly placed administrator, and later served in Brussels as an official at the court. He became secretary of the...

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leatherman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Leatherman or a variant listed above:

Leatherman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Dewalt Leatherman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Tewalt Leatherman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Jacob Leatherman, aged 32, landed in Pennsylvania in 1741

  • Timothy S. Leatherman, American co-founder of the Leatherman Tool Group in 1983
  • Janie L. Leatherman (b. 1959), scholar from the United States
  • Sheila Leatherman CBE, American research professor
  • Hugh K. Leatherman Sr., American Republican member of the South Carolina Senate
  • Russ Leatherman, American voice actor, the famous voice of Moviefone
  • Stephen P. Leatherman, the American director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University
  • J. H. Leatherman, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indian Territory, 1904
  • George W. Leatherman, American politician, Postmaster at Jeffersontown, Kentucky, 1841, 1846-49
  • D. M. Leatherman, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Washington County, 1871-72
  • C. E. Leatherman, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1956
  • ...

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    Other References

    1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    2. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
    3. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
    4. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    6. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial general by J. B. Rietstap 6 volumes in 3. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1976. Print.
    7. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
    8. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
    9. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
    10. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
    11. ...

    The Leatherman Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Leatherman 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 15 January 2016 at 12:45.

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