Show ContentsLife History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Life 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." [1] [2]

By extension, the names Leafchild and Liefchild were nicknames for "dear child." [3] "Leffechyld occurs in a poem of the XV. century, cited by Halliwell, in the sense of dear or beloved child; and so early as 1222, it is found as a Christian name-Lefchild, son of Sprot." [4]

Early Origins of the Life family

The surname Life was first found in Norfolk, where Godwin Lief was registered in the Pipe Rolls of 1198. In Cambridgeshire, Alice le Lef and Loue de Lef were both recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. Ancient Suffolk records show Henry Lyf listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. The Subsidy Rolls for Essex show an entry for Henry Lief (Leef) in 1327. Lucia le Lyf was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Somerset in 1327 and a few years later, William Leof was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Warwickshire in 1332. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 also include: Pagan Lef, Norfolk; Alice le Lef, Cambridgeshire; and Lone the Lef, Huntingdonshire. [3] Early Somerset records show Nicholas Leve, Somerset, 1 Edward III and Lucia Te Lyf, Somerset, 1 Edward III, (both registered in the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [5]

Early History of the Life family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Life research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1198, 1273, 1279, 1677, 1696, 1754, 1763, 1780, 1795, 1797, 1804, 1808, 1823, 1824, 1830, 1831, 1846, 1848, 1851, 1854, 1862 and 1884 are included under the topic Early Life History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Life Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Life has appeared include Leaf, Leaff, Leaffe, Leafe, Leif, Lief, Life, Lef, Leof, Leefe, Leve, Lyf, Leafchild and many more.

Early Notables of the Life family

Distinguished members of the family include John Leifchild (1780-1862), the English independent minister, son of John Leifchild by his wife Miss Bockman, was born at Barnet, Hertfordshire, 15 Feb. 1780. He was educated at the Barnet grammar school, and from 1795 to 1797 worked with a cooper at St. Albans. From 1804 to 1808 he was a student in Hoxton academy; from 1808 to 1824 was minister of the independent chapel in Hornton Street, Kensington; from 1824 to 1830 was minister of the church in Bridge Street, Bristol; and from 1831 to 1854 at Craven Chapel, Bayswater, London. [6]Henry Stormonth Leifchild...
Another 115 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Life Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Life migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Life Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • J. Life, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [7]


  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm


Houseofnames.com on Facebook