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Levitt Family Origins & Migration  

Origins of Levitt surname:

Origins: English
Spelling variations of this family name include: Levet, Levett, Levitt, Leavett, Leavitt, Livett and many more. First found in Suffolk where they were anciently seated as Lords of the Manor. The name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands.
[From www.HouseOfNames.com Archives copyright 2000 - 2007]

Origins: Scottish
Spelling variations of this family name include: Lovatt, Lovat, Lovet, Lovett, Lovit, Lovitt and others. First found in Buckingham where they were seated from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.
[From http://www.irishfamilycoatsofarms.com]

Leavitt, Usage: English
From Livet, a region in Normandy, France. Vikings conquered the area and a particular family had taken up the name by the time of the Battle of Hastings 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded England.
[From http://surnames.behindthename.com]

The surname of LEVITT was of two fold-origin. It was a locational name 'of Livet' the name of several places in Normandy. The name was brought to England with the Conqueror in 1066. It was also from the Old English given name of LEOFGEAT, composed of the elements 'leof' (dear, beloved) and the tribal name 'Geat'. This name was known in England before the Conquest, but it was spread by the Normans, among whom it was very popular. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Leuiet (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Lefget appears in County Suffolk in the year 1095, and Leuiet was documented in County Norfolk in 1166. Gilbert Liuet was recorded in Gloucestershire in 1200. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. Most of the European surnames 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. Other records of the name also include a William Levet who appears in 1273 in County Lincolnshire and Eustacius de Livet of County Yorkshire was recorded during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). Later instances of the name mention John Shelley and Johanna Levet, who were married in London in 1537 and Richard Levett married Anne Sweetapple in London in the year 1694. (No church mentioned). John Leavett of County Sussex, registered at Oxford University in the year 1590, and Thomas Levet enroled there in 1610. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

The earliest identified Levitt in our ancestral lines is Abraham Levitt born 1801 in Pontefract [Pomfret], Yorkshire, England. The history of Yorkshire is consistent with the name origins found on several web sites. FamilySearch.org records Levitt as early as 1446 in Yorkshire.


The original inhabitants of Yorkshire were the Celts, coming from two separate tribes. The Brigantes, who probably came over from the Alps or Gallaecia, controlled territory which included all of the North Riding of Yorkshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, the tribe controlled most of Northern England and more territory than any other Celtic tribe in England. The second tribe were the Parisii who controlled the exact area of the East Riding of Yorkshire, they were thought to have been related to the Parisii of Lutetia Parisiorum, Gaul (known today as Paris, France).

The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD. After the Romans left, small Celtic kingdoms built up in Yorkshire; the Kingdom of Ebrauc around York and more notably the Kingdom of Elmet around West Yorkshire.

An army of Danish Vikings invaved Northumbrian territory in 886 AD, with what was named by their enemies as the "Great Heathen Army". The Danes took what is modern day York and renamed it as Jorvik, making it their new capital city of a kingdom under the same name; the area which they took as their kingdom was Southern Northumbria (Yorkshire).

In the weeks immediately leading up the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD, Harold II of England was distracted by events in Yorkshire; his brother Tostig and Harold Hardrada King of Norway were attempting a take over bid in the North, they had already won the Battle of Fulford. The King of England marched North and the two armies met at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Tostig and Hardrada were both killed and their army was defeated decisively. However, Harold Godwinson was forced to immediately march his army back down to the South where William the Conqueror was landing. The King was defeated at Hastings and this led to the Norman conquest of England.

The 19th century saw Yorkshire's continued growth, with the population growing and the Industrial Revolution continuing with prominent industries in coal, textile and steel (especially in Sheffield). However, despite the booming industry, living conditions declined in the industrial towns due to overcrowding, this saw bouts of cholera in both 1832 and 1848.

Abraham Levitt arrived in Ohio before 1845 when his daughter Emily was born. He was married to Magdalena Kuhns [or Kuntz] born 1824 in Pennsylvania. Her family moved to Ohio when she was a young child and we presume the couple met in Ohio. No immigration or passenger records have been found for Abraham. Our information comes from the inscription on his gravestone. He may have escaped from the ravages of the cholera outbreak in 1832 ... a seeming good time to emigrate.

Maps showing County of Yorkshire, England, and Pontefract in Yorkshire - birthplace of Abraham Levitt
Pontefract's name originates in the Latin Pontus Fractus, "Broken Bridge". The town is situated on an old roman road (now the A639), described as the "Roman Ridge", which passes south towards Doncaster. Although Pontefract itself does not appear in the Domesday Book, an area of the town, known as Tanshelf, does.

Pontefract Castle dates from Norman times, when it was known as Pomfret. It was built, about 1070, by Ilbert de Lacy. King Richard II was murdered within the castle walls in 1400. William Shakespeare's play Richard III mentions this incident. Pontefract has been a market town since, at least, the Middle Ages.
[Historical data from www.wikipedia.org]

Roman Empire
Invaded in 43 AD

Nordic Cross of the Danes
Invasions 8th century+

Flag of Normandy
William conquered 1066

Yorkshire Rose Flag
Abraham Levitt born 1801

Flag of Ohio
Settled in Perry County
before 1845

Armorial Bearings

Arms of Pontefract, UK

Levitt - English

Levitt - Scottish

Leavitt - Variant

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