Lee (English surname)
This developed variously into the surnames Lee, Lea, and Leigh. The Lees of Shropshire were notable as the forebears of the colonial American Lee family which produced Richard Henry Lee, Robert E. Lee, and Zachary Taylor.
The name in Ireland has several diverse origins, resulting in widely dispersed clusters of the name in South Western, Western (Galway) and North Eastern Counties. One recognized root was the anglicization of the Irish surname "Ó Laoidaigh" which resulted in a number of variants, such as Lee, Lea, and Leigh. Other Lees have English roots and still others may have derived from the Norman "Du Lea". The 1901 Irish census list 4912 entries primarily in the counties of Galway, Dublin, Cork, Antrim, Limerick and Down.
Lee is the anglicized spelling of a number of East Asian surnames used by Chinese or Korean diaspora translating numerous surnames also romanized as Li, particularly the one deriving from the Chinese word for "plum" (李, pinyin Lǐ; S.Kor. 이, Lee; N.Kor. 리, Rhee; Vietnamese 李, quốc ngữ Lê, Lý or Lí) which is among the most common surnames in the world. In the United States, Lee is the most common surname for Chinese and Korean Americans and the second-most-common surname for Asian and Pacific Islanders, behind the Vietnamese Nguyen. Similarly, Lee is the third-most-common surname among Chinese Singaporeans.
Originating from Norway as "Lie", this surname was altered when it arrived in the Americas in the late 1800s to fit the English language's pronunciation.
People with the surname
- Albert Lee, English guitarist
- Alvin Lee, English guitarist and singer
- Amy Lee, American musician and singer
- Ann Lee, British singer
- Barbara Lee, American politician
- Bernard Lee, British actor
- Bruce Lee, Chinese Kungfu Master
- Brenda Lee, American singer
- Brett Lee, Australian cricketer
- Caspar Lee, British-South African YouTube personality
- Charles Lee (disambiguation)
- Christopher Lee, American track athlete and coach
- Sir Christopher Lee, English actor and singer
- Curtis Lee (1939–2015), American singer
- Danzell Lee, American football player
- David Lee, American basketball player
- David Lee (disambiguation)
- Elijah Lee (born 1996), American football player
- Francis Lee, English football player
- Geddy Lee, Canadian musician and songwriter
- A. Geoffrey Lee
- George Augustus Lee (1761–1826), British industrialist
- Greg Lee (basketball) (born 1951), American basketball player
- Harper Lee, American author
- Sir Henry Lee, Elizabeth the First's Champion in her jousts for 30 years.
- Jake E. Lee, American guitarist
- James Lee (disambiguation)
- Jason Lee, American actor and professional skateboarder
- Jason Lee, a Methodist missionary in the Pacific Northwest
- Jenna Lee, American broadcast journalist
- Jennie Lee, American stage and screen actress
- Jennie Lee, British stage actress
- John Lee (disambiguation)
- Jonna Lee, Swedish singer
- Keith Lee, American basketball player
- Keith Lee (American football), American football player
- Kent Lee, United States admiral
- Laurie Ann Lee, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
- Laurie Lee, English poet, novelist and screenwriter
- Lena King Lee (1906-2006), American politician and educator
- M. Howard Lee, American physicist,
- Malcolm Lee (disambiguation)
- Mark Lee (disambiguation)
- Marquel Lee (born 1995), American football player
- Martin Lee Astronaut
- Mary Digges Lee (1745–1805), American patriot
- Mary Elizabeth Lee (1813–1849), American writer
- Mela Lee, American voice actress
- Michael Lee (disambiguation)
- Paul Lee (disambiguation)
- Peggy Lee, American singer
- Richard Henry Lee, American statesman
- Robert E. Lee, an American career military officer
- Shane Lee, Australian cricketer
- Sophus Lie, Norwegian mathematician
- Spike Lee, an American film director, producer, writer and actor
- Stan Lee (1922–2018), American comic book writer (born Stanley Lieberman)
- Steve Lee, Swiss singer
- Stewart Lee, British comedian and writer
- Swords Lee, American businessman and politician
- Tanner Lee, American football player
- Thomas Lee (disambiguation)
- Vernon Lee, pseudonym of British writer Violet Paget (1856–1935)
- Walter Lee (disambiguation)
- W. Burch Lee, American politician
- Zeph Lee, American football player
A number of places in the US have been named for the various famous people named Lee:
- Lee, Massachusetts
- Lee, New Hampshire
- Lee's Summit, Missouri
- various Fort Lees
- various Leesburgs
- various Leesvilles
- Washington and Lee University
- Lee Township, Michigan
- Lee Township, Minnesota
- Lee (given name)
- List of persons with the surname Lee
- Lea (surname) and Leigh (surname), for related English surnames
- Li (surname), for numerous East Asian surnames romanized "Li"
- Li (李), for the most common one
- Lee (Korean name), for its Korean variants
- Lý (Vietnamese name)
- United States Census Bureau. "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 2000 Archived 2009-12-21 at the Wayback Machine". 27 Sept 2011. Accessed 29 Mar 2012.
- Edward Neafsey The Surnames of Ireland: Origins and Numbers of Selected Irish .2002 .. - Page 132 "In the English language, Lee, Lea, Leigh and Ley are names derived from nominative or dative cases of the Anglo-Saxon 'leah'. Originally it meant a wood, glade or clearing ...
- Michael C. O'Laughlin -The Families of County Limerick, Ireland: Over One Thousand ...1997 - Page 93 "Lee is a common name in England, and some of the name are originally from there, Lee is also an old Irish family name, stemming from families of O'Lee and MacLee, This helps to account for the widespread location of the name in Ireland." The name Lee is a very common English, British, and American surname.
- Michael C. O'Laughlin The Book of Irish Families: Great & Small - 2002 reprinted from Michael C. O'Laughlin Families of County Galway, Ireland -- 1998 - Page 125 "Lea, Maclee, Macalea, Melee, O'lee, Families of the surname of "Lee" in Ireland may stem from any one of several origins. Lee is an old Irish family name, stemming from families of O'Lee and MacLee. Lee is also a name of English origins ..."
- "Irish Genealogical Foundation: Book of Irish Families". 1997. Accessed 4 June 2013.
- "1901 Census of Ireland: Surname Lee in All Counties". 27 Sept 1901. Accessed 29 May 2013.
- V&A and the National Archives
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