This surname of LERCH is of three-fold origin. It was a nickname for someone with the characteristics of a lark, one who rose at an early hour. It was also perhaps an occupational name for someone who netted the birds and sold them for the cooking pot and it also meant one who came from LERCHE in Germany. The name is also spelt LESCH, LESHER and LESHE. A certain Pierce LESHER was born in the village of Reamstown, Lancaster County on May 9th 1853, and spent his early life upon the farm of his parents. He received his education in the public schools of his native town and in the State Normal Schools at Millesville. For four years he engaged at teaching school and then became the manufacturer of cigars. Remote ancestors of Pierce had come to America from the Palatinate prior to 1730, and made their home in Lancaster County. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity.
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