Leonard Family History
Leonard Name Meaning
English; French (Léonard); Walloon (mainly Léonard): from a personal name composed of the ancient Germanic elements leo ‘lion’ (a late addition to the vocabulary of ancient Germanic name elements taken from Latin) + hard ‘hardy brave strong’ which was taken to England by the Normans. A Christian saint of this name who is supposed to have lived in the 6th century but about whom nothing is known except for a largely fictional life dating from half a millennium later was popular throughout Europe in the early Middle Ages and was regarded as the patron of peasants and horses. In North America the English form of the surname has absorbed cognates from other languages e.g. Italian Leonardo Polish Slovenian etc. Lenart or Lenard and probably also their derivatives. Compare Larned Learned and Yenor . Irish (Fermanagh): adopted as an English equivalent of Gaelic Mac Giolla Fhionáin or of Langan . German: variant of Leonhard cognate with 1 above.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press