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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Leete family come from? What is the English Leete family crest and coat of arms? When did the Leete family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Leete family history?

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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.

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]


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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
  • Alfred Leete (1882-1933), British illustrator
  • William Leete (1661-1665), English Governor of the Colony of New Haven


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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. 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).
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. 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).
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 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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