Show ContentsLedbetter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Ledbetter family

The surname Ledbetter was 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.

Early History of the Ledbetter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ledbetter research. Another 121 words (9 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Ledbetter Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Ledbetter family (pre 1700)

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

Ledbetter Ranking

In the United States, the name Ledbetter is the 1,529th most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. [1]

United States Ledbetter migration to the United States +

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 [2]
Ledbetter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Ledbetter, who arrived in Texas in 1830 [2]
  • James Ledbetter, who landed in Texas in 1830 [2]

New Zealand Ledbetter migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ledbetter Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Ledbetter, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Rakaia" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 10th August 1881 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ledbetter (post 1700) +

  • Calvin Ledbetter Jr. (1929-2013), American politician and academic, member of the Arkansas House of Representatives (1967–1976)
  • Brigadier-General Louis A. Ledbetter (b. 1890), American Commanding Officer 90th Infantry Brigade (1939-1942) [4]
  • 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
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Harold Ledbetter, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [5]

Suggested Readings for the name Ledbetter +

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

  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. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  4. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, April 2) Louis Ledbetter. Retrieved from
  5. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook