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Leedy Coat of Arms / Leedy Family Crest

Leedy Coat of Arms / Leedy Family Crest

SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. This surname was established in County Cork in the mid-seventeenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century it had become very numerous, although it is much less now. The name was originally of English origin, an occupational name 'the leader' a cart-carrier. Most of the occupations or professions reflected in family names are those known in the small villages in Europe, or those followed in a king's or important noble's household, or in some large religious house or monastry. During the middle ages much of Europe was composed of small villages, and the occupations would be used to describe the bearer. Early records of the name mention Richard Ledy, rector of Fouldon, County Norfolk, documented in the year 1335. Thomas Leedy was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. George Leader married Mary Newnam in Canterbury, Kent in the year 1688. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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