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Lee Family History

Lee Name Meaning

English: topographic name for someone who lived near a meadow or a patch of arable land, Middle English lee, lea, from Old English lea, dative case (used after a preposition) of leah, which originally meant ‘wood’ or ‘glade’. English: habitational name from any of the many places named with Old English leah ‘wood’, ‘glade’, as for example Lee in Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, and Shropshire, and Lea in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, and Wiltshire. Irish: reduced Americanized form of Ó Laoidhigh ‘descendant of Laoidheach’, a personal name derived from laoidh ‘poem’, ‘song’ (originally a byname for a poet). Americanized spelling of Norwegian Li or Lie. Chinese : variant of Li 1. Chinese : variant of Li 2. Chinese : variant of Li 3. Korean: variant of Yi.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Lye, Lees, Lew, Leed, Gee, See, Leer, Ree, Lie, Ley

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Lee family from?

You can see how Lee families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Lee family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Lee families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 564 Lee families living in New York. This was about 15% of all the recorded Lee's in the USA. New York had the highest population of Lee families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Lee surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Lee ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Lee. 17% of Lee men worked as a Laborer and 9% of Lee women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named Lee were Truck Driver and Housekeeper.

View Census data for Lee | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
    17%
  • Farmer
    15%
  • Salesman
    4%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Maid
    9%
  • Cook
    6%
  • Housewife
    5%
  • Housekeeper
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Lee family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 2 million census records available for the last name Lee. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Lee census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Lee

Passenger Lists

There are 478,000 immigration records available for the last name Lee. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Lee immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 448,000 military records available for the last name Lee. For the veterans among your Lee ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of Lee family history.

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What is the average Lee lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Lee life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Lee in 1940 was 53, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Lee

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