Show ContentsLevingston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Levingston surname is habitational, derived from a place named Livingstone (Levingston) in the parish of Linlithgow, West Lothian.

"This place derives its name from an ancient castle called Livingstone Peel, which in the time of David I. was the baronial residence of the family of the Livingstones, whose descendants were elevated to the peerage by the title of Barons Livingstone, and of whom Alexander, the seventh Baron, was by James VI., in 1600, created Earl of Linlithgow.Of the ancient castle, there were some remains till the middle of the last century, consisting chiefly of the fosse and rampart; but they have entirely disappeared." [1]

The earliest progenitor of the Clan was Livingus, who was at least a noble. Some historians even say that he was a knight of the Hungarian court, who accompanied Margaret, wife of King Malcolm Ceanmore of Scotland, on her journey to Scotland. Other historians claim that Livingus was actually a Saxon who joined the train of Queen Margaret on her way through England and Scotland. In any case, records show he called his territories Levingestun, and that the church of "Leuiggestun," and "a half carucate of land and a toft" were granted to the Monks of Holyrood in the 12th century. [2]

Another reputable source has a slightly different bent on the origin: "A Saxon named Leving or Leuing appears to have settled in Scotland under David I. He certainly possessed a grant of the above-mentioned lands, which he called Levingestun (in Latin charters, villa Letting). Turstanus filius Leuig (for Leulg = Leving) in the reign of Malcolm IV granted to the monks of Holyrood the church of Leuiggestun, with a half carucate of land and a toft. Two sons of Turstan, Alexander and William, are mentioned as witnesses to two charters between the years 1165 and 1214, and as Turstan himself is also a witness to one of these charters he must have lived to a good old age." [3]

Early Origins of the Levingston family

The surname Levingston was first found in West Lothian. From this small beginning the Clan would grow into the nobility of Scotland and achieve the Earldoms of Callander, Linlithgow and Newburgh; the viscountcies of Kilsyth, Kinnaird and Teviot and the Lordships of Livingston.

Such was the power of this great Clan, that when William Douglas assumed the Regency of Scotland, from his father, the Earl of Douglas who became regent in 1437, he persuaded Lord Livingston to enter into a compact with him to become the Lieutenant of Scotland. When King James II came of age, William Douglas turned on the Livingston Clan, executed the Chief and seized many of their lands. For the next century the Livingston Clan, probably numbering over a thousand armed warriors, was a power unto itself in its home territories in Linlithgow, and they became hereditary keepers of the Royal Palace.

"The MacLeays of Appin, a small sept of the Stewarts of Appin, sometimes Englished their name as Livingstone, of whom was the celebrated missionary and traveller, David Livingstone. This name is used by Pennsylvania Germans as an Englishing of Loewenstein." [3]

Early History of the Levingston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Levingston research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1276, 1290, 1296, 1390, 1456, 1460, 1467, 1483, 1553, 1590, 1600, 1616, 1623, 1654, 1674, 1690, 1715, 1728, 1747 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Levingston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Levingston Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Livingston, Levinson, Livingstone, Livington, Levinston, Levingston, Lewynston, MacLeay and many more.

Early Notables of the Levingston family

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Livingston (ca.1390-ca.1460), Abbot-elect of Newbattle, Abbot of Dundrennan, nominal Bishop of Dunkeld, advisor to Kings James I and James II of Scotland; James Livingstone (d. 1467), 1st Lord Livingston; James Livingston, Bishop of Dunkeld, who was elected Chancellor of Scotland in 1483; Alexander Livingstone (d. 1623), 7th Lord Livingston, who was created Earl of Linlithgow in 1600; James...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Levingston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Levingston Ranking

In the United States, the name Levingston is the 12,583rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Levingston family to Ireland

Some of the Levingston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Canada Levingston migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Levingston Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Levingston U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. John Levingston U.E. who settled in Augusta, Ontario c. 1784 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Levingston (post 1700) +

  • Frank Levingston (1905-2016), American supercentenarian, the oldest living man in the United States and the oldest verified surviving American World War II veteran
  • Roberto Marcelo Levingston Laborda (1920-2015), Argentine Army general, President of Argentina from 1970 to 1971
  • Thomas Levingston Bayne Jr. (1865-1934), American football player, coach of football and baseball, and attorney
  • Don Levingston Short (1903-1982), American Republican politician, Member of North Dakota State House of Representatives, 1957; U.S. Representative from North Dakota, 1959-65 [6]

The Levingston 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: Si je puis
Motto Translation: If I can.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook