Show ContentsLeclair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Leclair comes from the French word "clair", which means "bright," or "light". As such, the name was most likely originally a nickname for a cheerful individual, although some instances may have evolved from the personal name Claire.

Early Origins of the Leclair family

The surname Leclair was first found in Limousin, where this renowned family held a family seat from ancient times.

Very early on, the family established themselves in Périgord and Bordelais where they held lands and estates. Many members of this important family were recorded as participants in the French Revolution and in its resultant political forums.

Théodore François Joseph Leclaire was a member of the military who was promoted to the rank of Chief of Battalion of the 98th regiment in 1791, followed in 1793 by a promotion to Commander of Arms. He was also honoured by being admitted to the Legion of Honour.

Early History of the Leclair family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leclair research. More information is included under the topic Early Leclair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leclair Spelling Variations

Changes of spelling have occurred in most surnames. The earliest explanation is that during the early development of the French language, names were not yet fixed in spelling. Usually a person gave his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. This depended on accent, and local accents frequently changed the spelling of a name. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, there are some spelling variations of the name Leclair, including Leclair, Leclaire, Leclaires, Leclère, Leclere, Leclères, Lecleres, Leclert, Lecler, le Clair, le Claire, le Claires, le Clère, le Clere, le Clères, le Clert, le Cler, Clair, Claire, Claires, Clère, Clere, Clères, Clert and many more.

Early Notables of the Leclair family (pre 1700)

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leclair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leclair World Ranking

In the United States, the name Leclair is the 3,059th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Leclair is ranked the 526th most popular surname with an estimated 9,345 people with that name. [2] And in France, the name Leclair is the 3,051st popular surname with an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 people with that name. [3]

United States Leclair migration to the United States +

French settlers came early to North American, following in the wake of the explorers, and creating New France. Quebec City, founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain is said to have been the first American site founded as a permanent settlement, rather than as just a commercial outpost. But emigration was slow, in 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 French people in Quebec, and by 1663, when the region was officially made The Royal Colony of New France, by Louis XIV, there still only around 500 settlers. Over 2,000 would arrive during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. Youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted immigrants, both noble and commoner from France. By 1675, there were around 7000 French in the colony, and by that same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. Despite the loss of the Colony to England, the French people flourished in Lower Canada. Among settlers to North America of the Leclair surname were

Leclair Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Leclair, who settled in Carolina in 1695
Leclair Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. LeClair, aged 27, who settled in Charleston in 1820
  • Joseph Leclair, aged 45, who settled in New Orleans in 1822
  • Joseph Leclair, aged 15, who settled in New Orleans in 1822

Canada Leclair migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Leclair Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Joseph and Marguerite Leclair, who landed at l'Isle-St-Jean, in Acadia, (Prince Edward Island) about 1724

Contemporary Notables of the name Leclair (post 1700) +

  • Keith Aaron LeClair (1966-2006), American athlete and later head baseball coach at Western Carolina University
  • Judith LeClair (b. 1958), American bassoonist from Newark, Delaware
  • James Michael "Jim" LeClair (1950-2019), American football player and coach, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1999
  • Frank J. LeClair (1888-1974), American commercial fisherman and politician who served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1947 to 1949 and from 1951 to 1957
  • John LeClair (b. 1969), American retired professional (NHL) hockey player
  • James LeClair (b. 1950), former American football player
  • Donat Leclair (b. 1952), former chief financial officer and executive vice president of Ford Motor Company
  • Ted LeClair, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Massachusetts State Senate Plymouth & Norfolk District, 2002 [4]
  • Louise E. LeClair, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 1956 [4]
  • Jean-Marie Leclair the Younger (1703-1777), French composer, and younger brother of the better-known Jean-Marie Leclair the Elder
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. "Surnames Meanings, Origins & Distribution Maps - Forebears." Forebears,
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook