Show ContentsLightbody History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Lightbody family

The surname Lightbody was 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.

Early History of the Lightbody family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lightbody research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1574 and 1602 are included under the topic Early Lightbody History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lightbody Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Lightbody family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Lightbody family to Ireland

Some of the Lightbody family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Lightbody migration to the United States +

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, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Thomas Lightbody, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1829

Canada Lightbody migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lightbody Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Lightbody, his wife and two sons, who settled in Quebec in 1820
  • James Lightbody, who arrived in Canada in 1820

New Zealand Lightbody 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:

Lightbody Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Lightbody, (b. 1840), aged 20, British farm labourer travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1860 [2]

West Indies Lightbody migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [3]
Lightbody Settlers in West Indies in the 19th Century
  • John Lightbody, who was on record in Jamaica in 1825

Contemporary Notables of the name Lightbody (post 1700) +

  • James Davies "Jim" Lightbody (1882-1953), American middle distance runner, winner of three gold and one sliver Olympic medals [4]
  • James Lightbody, American Republican politician, Member of New Hampshire State Senate 16th District, 1903-04 [5]
  • C. Lightbody, American politician, Mayor of El Paso, Texas, 1885-89 [5]
  • James Lightbody, Canadian Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta
  • Gary Lightbody (b. 1976), Northern Irish musician

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert Lightbody (b. 1923), Scottish Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Uphill Station, Linlighgowshire, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [6]

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

  1. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  4. Athletes - Famous Olympic Athletes, Medalists, Sports Heroes. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) James Lightbody. Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 8) . Retrieved from
  6. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook