Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Light Name
The name Light is of Anglo-Saxon origin and derives its name from one of two sources. The first source being the ancient English word lioht. This word translates to mean agile or energetic. The second source is from the medieval English leoht. This word translates to mean joyful or glad. In this context, it is believed the words may have been originally used as nicknames.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people’s names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Light include but not limited to; Light; Lyte; Leight; Light; Lett; Litte; Lite; and Litt among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Thomas de Leht which appears in the Kent tax rolls from 1272. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling were brothers, Elais and Richard Light who arrived in 1636 and settled in Virginia. George Light landed and settled in Virginia in 1648.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Australia and New Zealand bearing the surname Light. William Light landed in 1836 and settled in Canada as did brothers, Andrew and William Light who landed in 1849 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Philip and Mary Ann Light along with their children, William, Henrietta, and George, landed in 1874 and settled in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Light are found in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Light live in Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Light. Richard Upjohn Light was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His mother was Winifred Upjohn, daughter of William E. Upjohn, founder of Upjohn Company.
Light was renowned for the many acomplishments he achieved in his life; he was a neurosurgeon, having received his medical degree from the University of Michigan; he was an aviator, he flew around the world in 1934; he was a cinematographer, he often took aerial photographs; and he had been president of the American Geographical Society.
H. Wayne Light, PhD is an American psychologist, scholar, and author. His main interest is aimed toward childhood education. He has researched and written books on the subject. Dr. Light has also developed a system to determine if children should be retained to ensure the child receives full benefit of their education. Dr. Light also worked for many years as a police psychologist, lending his expertise in various law enforcement situations.
Light Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Light blazon are the swan, chevron and eaglr. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, argent and vert .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” . It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found . More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald . More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
Wade suggests that the appearance of a swan in a coat of arms is perhaps an indication of a musical person, or a “ lover of poetry and harmony”. It is generally shown in a lifelike aspect and colouring, although it may be leaked and legged with other colours. . It is a popular charge, both on the shield itself and impress, sometimes sitting and sometimes rising as if about to take off in flight.
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield , or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” , possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period . They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject , but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!