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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
As a native Irish surname, Lees 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.
The surname Lees 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.
The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Lees revealed spelling variations, including McAlea, McAlee, MacAlee, MacAlea, MacLee, McLee, MacLees, McLees, MacLeas, McLeas, O'Lees, O'Leas, Lee and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lees research. Another 438 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1253, 1600, 1650, and 1734 are included under the topic Early Lees History in all our PDF Extended History products
More information is included under the topic Early Lees Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Lees family came to North America quite early:
Lees Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Anne Lees, who landed in Virginia in 1656
- Richd Lees, who landed in Virginia in 1656
- Ann Lees, who arrived in Virginia in 1658
- Eliz Lees, who landed in Virginia in 1665
- Thomas Lees, who arrived in Maryland in 1679
Lees Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Margt Lees, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
- Lorentz Lees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1741
- Johannes Lees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
- Georg Lees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1750
Lees Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- David Lees, aged 20, arrived in Delaware in 1812
- Randall Lees, aged 21, landed in New York in 1812
- Robert Lees, who arrived in Connecticut in 1812
- J Lees, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
- Joseph Lees, who came to Philadelphia in 1852
Lees Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Biddy Lees, who arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the Brig "Ambassador"
- John Lees, aged 30, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast
- William Lees, aged 20, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast
- Andrew Lees, aged 45, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
- Biddy Lees, aged 35, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
Lees Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Edward Lees, English convict from Derby, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on March 6, 1848, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
- Henry Lees arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caspar" in 1849
- David Lees, aged 19, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon"
- Alexander Lees, aged 20, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan"
- Janet Lees, aged 18, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Switzerland"
Lees Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- H. Lees arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inflexible" in 1870
- M. Lees arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inflexible" in 1870
- Grace Lees arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inflexible" in 1870
- Thomas W. Lees, aged 24, a carpenter, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
- Robert Lees (1912-2004), American television and film screenwriter
- Robert James Lees (1849-1931), British spiritualist, medium and preacher who claimed he knew the identity of Jack the Ripper
- Nathaniel Lees, New Zealand actor, best known for his role in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- John Lees (1740-1807), Lower Canada businessman and politician
- Meg Heather Lees (b. 1948), Australian politician, member of the Australian Senate from 1990 to 2005
- Geoffrey Lees (b. 1951), English former Formula One racing driver
- Thomas James "Tom" Lees (b. 1990), English professional footballer
- Arthur Lees (1908-1992), English professional golfer
- Frederick Eugene John "Gene" Lees (1928-2010), Canadian music critic, biographer and lyricist
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 fortitudineMotto Translation:
By fidelity and fortitude.
- Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
- Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
- Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
- Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
- Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
- Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
- MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
- Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
- MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
- Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
The Lees Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Lees 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 15 December 2015 at 09:36.
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