I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy. I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.
This is the eleventh installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)
Now that the K names have been discussed, next up is the letter L:
Lamont (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This medieval Scottish surname is derived from the pre-7th Century Old Norse name Logmathr, composed of the elements log, meaning law, with mathr, the genitive form of mann, meaning man. In Scotland, the name is most associated with Ayrshire and Argyllshire. This surname may also be Norman in origin from the words le mont, meaning the mountain.
Lampeck (my mother’s paternal line)
Cornish—This is a locational surname from the manor of Lampenc, itself derived from lan-Pennock, which means the church of Pennock. Pennock comes from the words penn knegh, meaning a hilltop, as in the medieval village in Cornwall recorded as Penkneck in the year 1269.
Lane (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a topographical name for a resident of a narrow pathway between fences or hedges, later used of any narrow passage including one between houses in a town. It is derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word, lanu.
Lanfranchi (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—This is a patronymic surname derived from the pre-5th Century Germanic personal name Franc, an ethnic name for a person from the Frankish Empire.
Lang (my father’s paternal line)
German—Of both Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon origin, it probably originated as a descriptive nickname for a tall person. If so the derivation is from the pre-7th Century word lang, meaning long or tall, or it might have been a residential name for a person who lived at a langa, a long area of ground cultivated for agriculture.
Lantz (my father’s paternal line)
German—This is either a habitational surname for someone from Lanz or is a derivative of the Germanic name Lanzo, originally a short form of names that began with the element land, meaning land. During the Middle Ages, Lantz became associated with Old French word lance, meaning spear or lance.
Larue (my father’s maternal line)
English—After the Norman Conquest of 1066, French surnames like Larue came to England. Larue is a French topographic name for someone who lived beside a road, track, or pathway. It is derived from the Old French word rue (itself derived from the Latin word ruga, meaning crease or fold), with the definite article la. Together, this surname literally means the street.
Lathom (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname, of Old Scandinavian origin, is a variant of the more familiar locational surname Latham, which comes from any one of these places: Latham, West Yorkshire; Lathom, Lancashire; and Laytham, East Yorkshire. All of these share the same meaning, which is (place of or by) the barns, derived from the Old Norse word hlatha, meaning barn.
Lawrence (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This ancient surname derives from the male given name Laurentius, which itself originates from Laurentium, meaning the city of laurels. The laurel was a symbol of victory.
Lawton (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is locational in origin, given to a resident from one of the villages of Lawton in Cheshire or perhaps the village of Lawton in Herefordshire. The name derives from two pre-7th Century English words hlaw, meaning a low hill or a mound, and tun, a fenced enclosure or settlement.
Layton (my mother’s maternal line)
English— This is a locational surname from one of the various places called Layton, Leighton, and Leyton. The former place is from the Old English pre-7th Century word lad, a water-course or conduit, plus tun, a settlement, homestead, or a town. The latter places derive their name from the Old English word leac, meaning vegetables or leeks, and tun, which, in this instance, means a farm or small holding.
Leigh (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This Old English pre-7th Century surname is either a topographical name from residence in a glade or wood clearing, derived from the word leah, or locational from any of the various places named Lee or Leigh.
Lein/Line (my father’s paternal line)
German—This is an occupational surname for a grower of or dealer in flax, derived from Middle High German word lin, meaning flax.
Leibensberger (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This surname is presumably a habitational name from an unidentified place called Leibensberg or Lievensberg (in the Nertherlands). Or it could be a melding of two German words liebens and berger, which translates into love mountain.
Leitner/Lightner (my father’s maternal line)
German—This topographic surname is or someone who lived by a mountain spur or on a slope of a mountain, derived from Middle High German word lite, meaning mountain slope or spur, plus the suffix -(n)er, denoting an inhabitant.
Lewis (my father’s maternal line, my father’s paternal line, my mother’s paternal line, and my spouse’s maternal line)
English—This surname is generally accepted as being of pre-5th Century Frankish origins. It derives from the personal name Hludwig, composed of the elements hlud, meaning loud or famous, and wig, meaning battle.
Leydig/Lydick (my spouse’s maternal line)
German—This was a nickname for a disagreeable, cantankerous person, from Middle High German word leidic, meaning disagreeable or tiresome.
Ligon/Lygon (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This English surname is of Norman origin. It is of unknown etymology, although it has been speculated that this surname is a variant of L’Higon, a patronymic from Higon, a southern French variant of Hugo.
Lindsay (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a locational surname from Lindsey in Lincolnshire or Lindsey in Suffolk. The Lincolnshire place name derives from Lindon, the Old British name for Lincoln, plus the Old English pre-7th Century word eg, meaning island. Apparently, the district was practically an island, until the wetland was drained. The Suffolk place name is composed of the Old English name Lealla or Lelli, plus the word eg, meaning island.
Lockwood (my spouse’s maternal line)
English—The is a habitational name from West Yorkshire, derived from the Olde English pre-7th Century word loc(a), meaning enclosure, plus wudu, meaning wood.
Logan (my mother’s maternal line)
Scottish—This Gaelic surname might have a Norman origin. It is recorded as de Logan in Normandy; these de Logans accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, on his 1170 invasion of Ireland. In addition, several places in Scotland are called Logan. The place name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word lagan, which is a diminutive of lag, meaning hollow.
Long (my father’s paternal line and my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
English—This was a nickname for a tall person, derived from Old English word lang, meaning long.
Longespée (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This Norman surname is derived from the word longue, meaning long, and épée, meaning sword.
Loreman (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This habitational surname is a variation of Lohrmann, which combines the town of Lohr with mann, meaning man.
Loring/Lorrin (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Both the Loring and Lorrin surnames originate in Normandy, France. These surnames are derived from the Old French word le Lohereng, meaning the man from Lorraine.
Lovell (my spouse’s maternal line)
English—This surname is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word lou, meaning wolf, and was originally given as a nickname to a fierce or shrewd person.
Lowde (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname originated from a pre-7th Century word hlud, meaning loud, which was used both as a personal name, and as a descriptive topographical name as in the River Lud in Lincoln.
Lowe (my mother’s maternal line and my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This is derived from the pre-7th Century word hlaw, meaning a prominent small hill, a barrow, or burial mound, and hence somebody who lived by such a place.
Lowis (my father’s paternal line)
English—Like Lewis above, this surname is generally accepted as being of pre-5th Century Frankish origins. It derives from the personal name Hludwig, composed of the elements hlud, meaning loud or famous, and wig, meaning battle.
Lusignan (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Of Norman origin, this is a habitational surname from a place near Poitiers, France.
Lutz (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This South German surname, Lütz, is a shortened form of a name Luizo or Liuzo, derived from a Germanic name formed with liut, meaning people.
Lynde (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname might be a topographical name for someone who lived by a lime tree, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century Middle English word line, meaning lime tree. The surname might also derive from the medieval female given name Line, a form of Cataline and of various other names, such as Emmeline and Adeline.
Lyon (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of pre-7th Century French origins. Introduced into the British Isles at the Norman Conquest of 1066, it has a number of possible sources. First, it might be locational either from Lyons in central France or from Lyons-la-Forêt in the province of Eure in Normandy. Second, it might be a nickname for a fierce or brave warrior from the French word lion, meaning—well—lion. Third, it might originate from the French given name Leo (Latin for lion), and borne by numerous early martyrs and no less than 13 popes.
Well, that’s it for the L surnames… Next up are the M surnames.