Litster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Litster family name dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The name comes from when an early member worked as a "litster" or dyer, a trade-name for a person who dyed clothes and other fabrics. This surname is derived from the Old English words lite and litte, which both mean to dye.

Early Origins of the Litster family

The surname Litster was first found in Yorkshire where today it is one of the most populous surname in that shire. Early records show "Lystare, clothe dyynge (or lytaster of clothe dyynge." "The pedigree is traced to the sixth of Edward II., when John de Lister was resident of Derby. The elder line was of Mydhope, or Middop." [1] He later transferred himself to Yorkshire on his marriage with the daughter and heiress of John de Bolton [2]

Gisburn in the West Riding of Yorkshire "was for many generations the seat of the family of Lister, whose descendant, Lord Ribblesdale, is lord of the manor. Gisburn Park is a noble mansion, containing a valuable collection of paintings; the park is extensive, and approached by a handsome lodge. The Lister family are interred in a vault in the church." [3]

"Manningham Hall, [in Manningham, in the West Riding of Yorkshire] the seat of E. C. Lister Kaye, Esq., is a handsome mansion, erected on the site of the ancient house of the Lister family, taken down in 1770, and is surrounded by a park." [3]

Early History of the Litster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Litster research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1296, 1555, 1534, 1638, 1712, 1791, 1840, 1597, 1668, 1639, 1712, 1658, 1718, 1705, 1707, 1707 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Litster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Litster Spelling Variations

Litster has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Litster have been found, including Lister, Litster, Lidster and others.

Early Notables of the Litster family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Michael Lister, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1534; Sir Martin Lister (c. 1638-1712), English naturalist and physician, eponym of the Dorsa Lister ridge on the Moon; Anne Lister (1791-1840) was a well-off Yorkshire landowner, diarist and traveler; Thomas Lister (1597-1668), English Colonel in the Parliamentary army during the...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Litster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Litster migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Litsters to arrive on North American shores:

Litster Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Litster, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 [4]

New Zealand Litster 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:

Litster Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Dr. Litster, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gloriosa" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 22nd January 1865 [5]
  • Mrs. Litster, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gloriosa" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 22nd January 1865 [5]
  • Mr. Litster, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gloriosa" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 22nd January 1865 [5]


The Litster 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: Retinens vestigia famae
Motto Translation: Still treading the footsteps of an honourable ancestry.


  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook