As a native Irish surname, Leece is derived from the Gaelic name Mac Laoidhigh, which comes from the word "laoidh," which means "a poem;" or from Mac Giolla Iosa, which means "son of the devotee of Jesus." However, Lee is also a common indigenous name in England
, many families of which have been established in Ireland
since at least the 17th century.
Early Origins of the Leece family
The surname Leece was first found in Connacht
(Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they were prominent in the west being anciently associated as hereditary physicians to the O'Flahertys. The McLees or McAlees were traditionally doctors or physicians. By the 16th century different branches had developed in Galway
, in Leix
, and in Munster
at Cork and Limerick
. The name in Gaelic was O'Laidhigh.
Early History of the Leece family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leece research.Another 438 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1253, 1600, 1650, and 1734 are included under the topic Early Leece History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Leece Spelling Variations
Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations
of the surname Leece were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. McAlea, McAlee, MacAlee, MacAlea, MacLee, McLee, MacLees, McLees, MacLeas, McLeas, O'Lees, O'Leas, Lee and many more.
Early Notables of the Leece family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Leece Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Leece family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Leece Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- James Leece, aged 32, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
- Margaret A. Leece, aged 31, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
- John Alfred Leece, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
- Thomas William D. Leece, aged 5, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
- James M. Leece, aged 1, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
The Leece Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Fide et fortitudine
Motto Translation: By fidelity and fortitude.