The surname Lief has two distinct possible entomological origins. Firstly, the name could have been derived from the Old English
"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."
from ancient times.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lief 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 Lief History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Lief has undergone many spelling variations
, including Leaf, Leaff, Leaffe, Leafe, Leif, Lief, Life, Lef, Leof, Leefe, Leve and many more.
To escape the unstable social climate in England
of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Lief were among those contributors: 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..