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Leif History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The surname Leif has two distinct possible entomological origins. Firstly, the name could have been derived from the Old English personal name "Leofa" and/or "Leofe", both meaning "Dear" or "Beloved." Secondly, the name could have been a topographical name for someone who lived in a densely foliated area from the Middle English word "leaf."


Early Origins of the Leif family


The surname Leif was first found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Leif family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leif research.
Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1198, 1273, 1279, 1318, 1327, 1377, 1677, and 1754 are included under the topic Early Leif History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leif Spelling Variations


Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Leif were recorded, including Leaf, Leaff, Leaffe, Leafe, Leif, Lief, Life, Lef, Leof, Leefe, Leve and many more.

Early Notables of the Leif family (pre 1700)


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

Migration of the Leif family to the New World and Oceana


To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Leif family emigrate to North America: John Leaff who sailed to Virginia in 1663; Henry Leaf who arrived in Barbados in 1663; Sarah Leaffe who arrived in Maryland in 1679; and Dennis Leaf who sailed to Pennsylvania in 1865..

Contemporary Notables of the name Leif (post 1700)


  • Vidar Leif Theisen (1933-2012), Norwegian meteorologist whose nasal speech and lack of tonal variation made him into a cult star in Norway
  • Leif Haraldseth (1929-2019), Norwegian trade unionist and politician, Minister of Local Government (1986–1987)
  • Leif Sundell (b. 1958), retired Swedish association football referee
  • Leif Holger Larsen (1954-2015), Norwegian diplomat, Ambassador to Pakistan (since 2014), killed in the 2015 Pakistan Army Mil Mi-17 crash
  • Leif Størmer (1905-1979), Norwegian paleontologist and geologist
  • Leif Arne Brekke (b. 1977), Norwegian football defender
  • Leif Enger (b. 1961), American author, best known for his book Peace Like a River
  • Leif Tilden (b. 1964), American award winning actor and director, best known for his role as Robbie Sinclair in the sitcom Dinosaurs
  • Leif Kayser (1919-2001), Danish composer and organist
  • Leif Martin Holmgren (b. 1953), former Swedish ice hockey player

Leif Family Crest Products



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