Lightfoot Surname Genealogy
Lightfoot obviously started out as a nickname and became a
surname. The roots are the Old English leoht, meaning “nimble” or “quick,”
and fot or
“foot.” The name originally denoted someone with a light
springy step, a speedy runner or messenger.
Lightfoot Resources on
- The Lightfoot Family History
Lightfoots in America.
- The Lightfoot Families
Lightfoots in America.
- The Lightfoots
Lightfoots in Alabama and Texas.
Early spellings were Lyghtfoot and Lyghtfot. The name first
appeared as a surname in the English border counties. John
Lightfoot was the King’s clerk in Hereford in 1300 and another John
Lightfoot was recorded as a weaver in Shrewsbury in 1463.
Later the name had moved northwards. By the
time of the 1881
census, Lightfoots ran from Staffordshire in the south to
in the north, with some crossing of the Pennines into Yorkshire.
The largest numbers were to be found in Merseyside and north Cheshire.
vicar of Uttoxeter in Staffordshire for thirty six years until his
1658. He had five sons, the most prominent being the churchman
Hebraic scholar John Lightfoot.
Lightfoot, a one-time brewer in Liverpool in the 1750’s. A son
disappeared at sea in the early 1800’s. But a later Lightfoot,
Barber Lightfoot who was born in Liverpool in 1828, became the
Durham and served as chaplain to Queen Victoria.
in the Cheshire
villages of Frodsham and Kingsley who date from the early 1700’s.
Paul Lightfoot hails from Kingsley today.
who came to Accrington in Lancashire from Frodsham around 1820.
Thomas Lightfoot of
Bank House died in 1866. James Emmanuel Lightfoot, a
printing inventor, was Accrington’s first mayor in
who were further north at
Wigton in Cumberland from the 1650’s; and Lightfoots have
farming at Bowness near Windermere since the 1850’s.
Quaker Lightfoots in Cambridgeshire, the place where Thomas
was born in 1619. Persecuted for his faith he departed for Northern
Ireland in the 1650’s. Later Lightfoots crossed the Atlantic to
Pennsylvania. Matthew Lightfoot was a Quaker shoemaker in
London, known to posterity because in the 1750’s his daughter
the Fair Quaker, was said to have been the mistress of the Prince
There were Lightfoots as
well in Cornwall, at St. Breock. William
Lightfoot was recorded as a cooper there in 1691; and Rendel Lightfoot
there in 1723. Lightfoots were later to
be found at Polperro and Wadebridge. Two
Lightfoot brothers – William and James – were hanged at Bodmin for the murder of Neville Norway
1840. Lightfoots of the next generation
to Australia – John and William in 1854 and Henry with the family in
America. Early Lightfoots came to Virginia.
Virginia. The Rev.
Richard Lightfoot of St. Mary’s at Stoke Bruerne in
Northamptonshire is the forebear of most Lightfoots in America.
Two of his grandsons, John and Philip, arrived
in Virginia in 1670.
Their descendants were
prominent in Virginian colonial life. A later Philip Lightfoot
plantation at Sandy Point and built an imposing mansion home for
Yorktown. These Lightfoots frequently intermarried
with the Lees of
Virginia. Francis Lightfoot Lee from Virginia was a signer of
Declaration of Independence. William Lightfoot moved west to
Kentucky in 1793.
Lightfoot might seem as if it were or could have been a native Indian
name. There was a HoGa Lightfoot in the 18th century of the
Cherokee nation. But his name derived from Captain John
Lightfoot, an Indian agent in Virginia who had married a Cherokee
brought his Quaker family to Chester county, Pennsylvania in
Many Lightfoots of this line were Quaker ministers. A later
Lightfoot was an Indian agent in Nebraska in the 1860’s.
Thomas Lightfoot arrived in
Alabama in the early 1800’s and established a plantation at Myrtle
fertile land along the Tuscumba river. Later
Lightfoots sold out at the time of the Civil War and migrated to Texas. Henry Lightfoot who fought in that conflict
a prominent Texas lawyer and politician after the war.
His home in Paris, Texas became a Texas
historic landmark in 1965.
The Lightfoot history in England and America has been compiled in Mary
E. Morton’s 2005 book Calling All
Henry Lightfoot came
out with his family to Canada from Yorkshire sometime in the 1850’s. They settled in Middlesex county, Ontario
where he farmed. His line led to Gordon
Lightfoot, the folk singer/songwriter who became internationally famous
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Joseph Barber Lightfoot served
as chaplain to Queen Victoria and Bishop of Durham.
Gordon Lightfoot is a highly
popular Canadian folk singer and songwriter.
Select Lightfoots Today
- 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 2,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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