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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the English Ledbetter family come from? What is the English Ledbetter family crest and coat of arms? When did the Ledbetter family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Ledbetter family history?

The Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain were the first to use the name of Ledbetter. The name had a practical origin since it came from when its initial bearer worked as a worker in lead. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English words lead and beatere, meaning literally "he who beats lead." Metallurgy was not an advanced art in the Middle Ages; the metal in modern cutlery is far harder and has more resiliency than that in the best sword in medieval times. It was a common sight during a battle in the early Middle Ages to see a soldier hit someone with a sword, then put it on the ground and step on it to straighten out the bend it had just acquired. Lead was a popular metal to work with thanks to its malleability, making it easy to work. Of course, its toxic properties were not known; in fact, its sweet taste led to its use in antiquity as a condiment in some places, though usually not for long. Lead was commonly found in jewelry as a metal mixed with gold, and in pewter, an amalgam of lead and tin, used for drinking cups and cutlery. This made the occupation of leadbeater an important one in the Middle Ages.


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 Ledbetter include Leadbetter, Leadbater, Leadbeater, Leadbeter, Leadbetter, Leadbitter and many more.

First found in Durham where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ledbetter research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1221, 1250 and 1328 are included under the topic Early Ledbetter History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Ledbetter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Ledbetter or a variant listed above:

Ledbetter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hurry Ledbetter, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798

Ledbetter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Ledbetter, who landed in Texas in 1830
  • John Ledbetter, who arrived in Texas in 1830


  • Calvin Ledbetter Jr. (1929-2013), American politician and academic, member of the Arkansas House of Representatives (19671976)
  • Brigadier-General Louis A. Ledbetter (b. 1890), American Commanding Officer 90th Infantry Brigade (1939-1942)
  • James Ledbetter, American author and editor
  • Toy W. Ledbetter, professional American football player
  • Brian Richard Ledbetter (b. 1963), former American competitive sailor
  • Ralph Overton "Razor" Ledbetter (1894-1969), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Joe Ledbetter (b. 1977), American artist and art toy designer
  • Marshall Ledbetter Jr. (1969-2003), American photographer, psychedelics enthusiast, iconoclast and unconventional protester
  • Mary Brown Williams Ledbetter (1932-2010), American political activist, social justice crusader and lobbyist
  • Lilly Ledbetter (b. 1938), the plaintiff in the American employment discrimination case



  • Yeiser,Ledbetter and Allied Families by Mary Louise Yeiser Wiley.

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  1. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  2. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Ledbetter Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ledbetter 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 9 November 2015 at 10:58.

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