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


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The surname Leete was first found in Cambridge where there is some dispute over the origin on the name. One reference claims the name is a location name meaning "a meeting of crossroads" as in "court-leet and borough-leet," [1] while another claims the name was a baptismal name "the son of Lettice" (Latin laetitia, gladness) from the nickname Lete. Lettice was a very popular girl's name in its day but was rare by the late 1800s. [2] Regardless of the origin, the first records of the name were in Cambridge where Letia (no surname) was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same rolls list Nicolas filius Lete in Bedfordshire; Walter Lete in Suffolk and Roge Lete in Oxfordshire. [2]

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 Leete include Leete, Leeth, Leety, Lety and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leete research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487, 1612, 1683, 1612, 1661, 1665, 1676 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Leete History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leete Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Leete or a variant listed above:

Leete Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Leete, who arrived in New Haven, Conn in 1639
  • Humphrey Leete, who arrived in Maryland in 1670
  • Samuel Leete, aged 39, arrived in New York in 1677

Leete Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Leete, aged 36, landed in New York in 1812

Leete Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Leete arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Gipsy Queen" in 1850

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  • Bernard More Troughton Shute Leete OBE AFC (1898-1978), English aviator and aviation pioneer, he made the first flight from England to India in a light aircraft
  • William Leete (1661-1665), English Governor of the Colony of New Haven
  • Alfred Leete (1882-1933), British illustrator


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Leete Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Leete 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 11 September 2013 at 08:44.

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