Lehman Surname Genealogy

surname Lehmann is of German and Swiss origin.
The northern German Lehmann, first written
Lehemann and Lehenmann, initially described a feudal tenant and came to
be used
for a small farmer. The Swiss and
sometime southern German definition is one who lives by a lehn, a gentle slope.
Lehman was also adopted as a Jewish name.

Lehman Resources on

Lehman Ancestry

numbers today in Germany and Switzerland are approximately:

  • 100,000 in Germany
  • and 20,000 in Switzerland.

German Lehmanns are mainly concentrated
in the eastern part of the country in what is today Brandenburg, from
in the south to Berlin in the north.
There are also Lehmanns in the Black Forest in the Ortenaukreis
region in the
southwest (the name Johannes Lehenmann appeared in the
charters as early as 1317).

Included in the German numbers had once been Jewish Lehmanns, such as
the court financier Behrend Lehmann of Halberstadt in the 17th century. Other Jewish financiers such as the
Rothschilds followed in his footsteps.

Early Swiss Lehmanns
came from Emmenthal in the Swiss canton of Bern.

. Lehmann generally became
Lehman, although
some later arrivals kept their two “n’s.”
The split today is roughly 75% Lehman and 25% Lehmann.
There were other
early spelling variants
, because of the English clerks, the
most common of them being Layman.

Swiss Lehmans may
have come first. Forced emigration from
the Bern canton started in the 1660’s and their arrival into British
America from the Rhine Palatine began in the early 1700’s.
The German-speaking immigrants, including Lehmans, began to
appear in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania at that time.

The Lehman,
Layman Genealogy Handbook
, produced by Earl Lehman in 2006 and
expanded in 2011,
a fairly comprehensive list of early Lehman and Layman families. These Lehmans included:

  • Hans
    Lehman who
    arrived in 1727 and settled near Lititz in Lancaster county. His descendants have been numerous in the
  • Three
    Lehman brothers – Johannes, Christian, and Ludwig – who arrived in
    Pennsylvania at various times between 1727 and 1732. They were
    believed to have come originally from the Bern canton area.
  • and
    Jacob Lehman, a weaver by trade, who came with his family in 1751 and
    settled also in Lancaster county. His
    Joachim became known as Joachim Layman and
    moved to
    Kentucky in

arrivals ended up in camps in upstate New York.
Clement Lehmann from Kallstadt in the Rhine-Palatine was there
in 1715 as
Leman, settled in Greene county, and his family later became Layman.

Jewish. Lehman can
also be a Jewish name. The
prominent Lehmans in America has been the Jewish
which was begun
by three
brothers from
northern Bavaria – Henry who arrived in 1844, Emanuel who came three
later, and Mayer who was there by 1850.
Originally their business was a dry goods store in Alabama, but
soon moved into cotton trading.

youngest brother Mayer took the lead in establishing their cotton
business in
New York, being one of the organizers of the New York Cotton Exchange. Under his direction, Lehman Brothers
expanded into financial services.
Leadership later passed to Emanuel’s son Henry. While
Henry was in charge all the partners at Lehman Brothers were named
Lehman. His
son Robert led the firm from 1925 to 1969.
When he died that year, Lehman Brothers passed out of family
hands and few
were around when the company went bankrupt in 2008.

Canada. A number of Mennonite
emigrated from Pennsylvania to Ontario in the early 1800’s. Among them was
Lehman who had married
Susanna Raemer and came with her family to Markham county. Some Lehmans stayed there, some moved back to America,
and Samuel and Isaac Lehman, two cousins, headed west in 1875 to
British Columbia.
formed the small rural community Mount Lehman named after them.

Australia. In Australia,
in contrast to America, the split is approximately 25% Lehman and 75%

Reinhold Lehmann who arrived in South Australia in 1859 did change his
name – to John Ronald Lehman. But the descendants of Johann
Gottlieb Lehmann who had come to South Australia from Brandenburg ten
years earlier remained Lehmanns. Peter Lehmann, the famous
Barossa valley winemaker, was a fifth generation descendant of these
early settlers.

Lehman Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Lehman Names


developed Lehman Brothers
into one of the major financial services companies in New York in the
late 19th
Herbert Lehman
served as Governor and Senator for New York over a
long period between 1932 and 1956.
Peter Lehmann who died in 2013
was a legendary Australian winemaker, known as the Baron of Barossa.

Select Lehmans Today

  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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