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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish

When the Anglo- Normans began to settle in Ireland, they brought the tradition of local surnames to an island which already had a Gaelic naming system of hereditary surnames established. Unlike the Irish, the Anglo- Normans had an affinity for local surnames. Local surnames, such as Ledwith, were formed from the names of a place or a geographical landmark where the person lived, held land, or was born. The earliest Anglo-Norman surnames of this type came from Normandy, but as the Normans moved, they created names that referred to where they actually resided. Therefore, English places were used for names when the Normans lived in England, and then Irish places after these particular Anglo- Normans had been settled in Ireland for some time. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. However, this type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or it was eliminated entirely. The Ledwith family originally lived in the settlement of Ledwyche in the English county of Shropshire, or in a place called Ledwich or Leftwich in the neighboring county of Cheshire. The surname Ledwith belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


The surname Ledwith was first found in Cheshire, where they held a family seat from early times. They are conjecturally descended from Walter de Vernon who was granted the lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They held a family seat at Ledwich or Leftwich in that county.

Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Ledwith revealed many spelling variations including Ledwich, Ledwidge, Ledwedge and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ledwith research. Another 329 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1200, 1270, 1329, 1598, 1737, 1823, and 1858 are included under the topic Early Ledwith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Ledwith:

Ledwith Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Garrett Ledwith, who arrived in Virginia in 1696

Ledwith Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Morris Ledwith, who landed in America in 1851

  • Thomas A. Ledwith (1840-1898), American lawyer and politician, Member of the New York State Assembly (1863)
  • Michael Ledwith (1874-1929), American Major League Baseball catcher who played one game for the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1874
  • William M. Ledwith, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Jacksonville, Florida, 1882-85; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Florida, 1888
  • Thomas A. Ledwith (1840-1898), American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 11th District, 1863; Member of New York State Senate 7th District, 1874-75
  • Charles H. Ledwith (1885-1954), American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State Senate 13th District, 1939-40; Candidate for Mayor of Meriden, Connecticut, 1939
  • Dr. Michael Ledwith, Irish author and teacher at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment
  • Martin Ledwith, Scottish actor, known for Comes a Bright Day (2012) and Heartbeat (1992)
  • Anthony Ledwith CBE, FRS (b. 1933), British chemist, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 1998 to 2000

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    Other References

    1. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
    2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    4. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
    5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
    6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
    7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    8. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    9. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    11. ...

    The Ledwith Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Ledwith 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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