Ligan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Ligan emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Ligan family originally lived in the parish of Lingen in the county of Herefordshire. The surname Ligan belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Ligan family

The surname Ligan was first found in Herefordshire where the village of Lingen still exists today. The village is listed in the Domesday Book as holding 2 manors, land for 7 ploughs, half a league of woodland and at that time was held by Ralph de Mortimer. [1] Limebrook Priory is located south of the village was founded before the time of Richard I by either Ralph de Lingen or Ralph de Mortimer and may be one of the two aforementioned manors. "The first recorded ancestor of this loyal family is Ralph de Wigmore, lord of Lingen, founder of the Priory of Lyngbroke. His son and grandson John took the name of Lingen." [2]

Further to the north in Scotland where the name claims its origin from "the lands of Lingoch, now Lingo, in the parish of Carnbee, Fife." [3] In this case, the first record of the name was Vlfus de Lingoch. who witnessed a charter by Eggou Ruffus to the Priory of May early in the thirteenth century.

Early History of the Ligan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ligan research. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1514, 1466, 1506, 1612, 1662, 1638, 1500, 1510, 1554 and 1560 are included under the topic Early Ligan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ligan Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Lingen, Lingane, Lingham, Lyngbroke and others.

Early Notables of the Ligan family (pre 1700)

Prominent in the family at this time was John Lingein, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1466; Sir John Lingen of Lingen (d. 1506); Sir Henry Lingen (1612-1662), Lord of Sutton, Lingen and Stoke...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ligan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand Ligan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ligan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr Ligan, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship George Fife


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, 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)


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