Show ContentsLeavy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surname Leavy originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Duinnshleibh, derived from the words "dun," meaning "fortress," or perhaps "donn," which means "brown," and "sliabh," which means "mountain."

Early Origins of the Leavy family

The surname Leavy was first found in Ulidia, in northern Ireland, where they were said to have descended from the Princes of Ulidia, who were in turn descended from the Heremon line of Irish Kings; the modern name for Ulidia, is Ulster. The "Four Masters" list that in 1199, a Rory O'Dunsleve joined the English (Norman soldiers) at Meath and plundered the monastery of Saint Peter and Paul in Armagh. In the 12th century during the Anglo/Norman invasion of Ireland, the Dunleavys migrated to Tir Connell now known as Donegal and became hereditary physicians to the distinguished O'Donnells.

Early History of the Leavy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leavy research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1644, 1694, 1728, 1746 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Leavy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leavy Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Leavy dating from that time include Dunleavy, Dunlevie, Dunlevy, Dunlivie, McDunleavy, Donleavy and many more.

Early Notables of the Leavy family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father Christopher Dunlevy, a Franciscan monk, who was martyred in 1644.Reverend Andrew Donlevy (1694- c.1761), was an Irish ecclesiastic, born about 1694, and received his early education in or...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leavy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leavy Ranking

In the United States, the name Leavy is the 12,020th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 1

United States Leavy migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Leavy family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Leavy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Michael Leavy, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743 2
Leavy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Matthew Leavy, who arrived in New York, NY in 1833 2
  • L Leavy, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 2

Australia Leavy migration to Australia +

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

Leavy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Lawrence Leavy, (Leary), (b. 1813), aged 18, Irish labourer who was convicted in County Offlay (King's County), Ireland for 7 years for assault, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 5th November 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 3
  • Mr. Michael Leavy, Irish farm labourer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Constant" on 9th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 4

Contemporary Notables of the name Leavy (post 1700) +

  • Bill Leavy (1947-2023), American NFL football official from the 1995 through 2014
  • Edward Leavy (1929-2023), American jurist, Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (2005-2008), Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1997-2023)
  • Thomas F. Leavy, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Hartford; Elected 1934 5
  • Charles Henry Leavy (1884-1952), American Democratic Party politician, State court judge in Washington, 1926; U.S. Representative from Washington 5th District, 1937-43; Federal Judge, 1942 5

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2021). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook