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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Lightbody family come from? What is the English Lightbody family crest and coat of arms? When did the Lightbody family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Lightbody family history?

The history of the name Lightbody begins in the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It was a name for a small person, a gentle person, or someone who was habitually active and joyful. The surname Lightbody is derived from one of a number of Old English words: the word lytel means little; the word leoht translates as light; and the word lithe means gentle or mild.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Lightbody are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Lightbody include: Lightbody, Lightboddie and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lightbody research. Another 255 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1574 and 1602 are included under the topic Early Lightbody History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Lightbody Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Lightbody family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Lightbody or a variant listed above:

Lightbody Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Elizabeth Lightbody, who arrived in America in 1775

Lightbody Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Lightbody, aged 37, landed in New York in 1812
  • John Lightbody, who was on record in Jamaica in 1825
  • Thomas Lightbody, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1829

Lightbody Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Lightbody, his wife and two sons, who settled in Quebec in 1820
  • Jas Lightbody, who arrived in Canada in 1820


  • olympic.org/content/olympic-athletes/generic-athlete-page/?athleteid=57461">James Davies "Jim" Lightbody (1882-1953), American middle distance runner, winner of three gold and one sliver Olympic medals
  • James Lightbody, Canadian Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta
  • Gary Lightbody (b. 1976), Northern Irish musician


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: Clarior e tenebris
Motto Translation: The brighter from previous obscurity.


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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Lightbody Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Lightbody Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 11 November 2014 at 21:02.

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