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Surname Cleaveland - Meaning and Origin

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Cleaveland: What does the surname Cleaveland mean?

The surname Cleaveland is of Old English origin and is a locational name derived from the place called Cleveland in Northeast England. This name directly translates to "cliff-land" from its old English roots: "Clif" meaning "cliff" or "riverbank" and "land" indicating "land" or "property." Thus it refers to people who lived near a hilly or cliff-dominated area or owned property by the cliffs. This surname has many variations, including Cleveland, Claflin, and Cleavely. It was customary for people to adopt the name of the place they inhabit as their surnames in medieval times. In America, the surname also has historical significance as it was borne by Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.

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Cleaveland: Where does the name Cleaveland come from?

The surname Cleaveland is of English origin, specifically from Northern England. It was an old locational name derived from the place called Cleveland in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The name Cleveland itself means "cliff-land". It first appeared in records dating back to the 13th century.

Cleaveland is a variant spelling of the more common Cleveland, likely due to phonetic transcription over time. Both surnames may be traced back to the same geographic location and mean the same thing.

Today, the surname Cleaveland is found around the world, but it's most widespread in the United States of America. However, it's not particularly common. According to, it was the 17,014th most common surname in the world in 2014. American presidents Grover Cleveland and his distant relative Stephen Grover Cleveland bring some renown to the surname, despite the slight spelling difference.

The bulk of people with this surname reside in North America, following waves of emigration from England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Expect to find more Clevelands than Cleavelands due to the more common spelling.

Variations of the surname Cleaveland

The surname Cleaveland is of English origin and has a variety of different spellings and versions, reflecting the phonetic spelling of the day or region where it was recorded. Variants of this surname commonly found include Cleveland, Cleavland, Cleavell, Cliveland, Cleevland, Clevelend, and Clevland.

It is believed to have originated from the geographical location of Cleveland, which is an area in the northeast of England. The name itself means "cliff-land". People bearing this surname are often found in large numbers in North Yorkshire where the original Cleveland Hills are located.

Cleevland and Cliveland are less common versions and they primarily show differences in pronunciation that were noted by English clerks in medieval times. The version ‘Cleavland’ is used frequently in Sweden, while the spelling 'Clevland' is found in Scotland. The surname ‘Cleaveland’ is more common in the United States and is a known variant of 'Cleveland'.

There are also variations on the surname depending on marriage and lineage, such as Cleaveland-Smith or Cleaveland-Jones. Beyond these, the surname is quite distinctive and doesn't readily amalgamate into other forms.

Famous people with the name Cleaveland

  • Grover Cleveland: The 22nd and 24th President of the United States. He is known for his honesty and integrity during his presidency.
  • Moses Cleaveland: The founder of the city of Cleveland in the USA, despite the difference in spelling.
  • Phil Cleveland: an American former basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 70s.
  • James Cleveland: An American gospel singer, known as the King of Gospel music.
  • Helen Cleveland: An American civil rights activist and leader of the NAACP.
  • Parker Cleaveland: An American scientist and the "Father of American Mineralogy." Please note that there is not a high number of famous people with the surname Cleaveland, but the individuals listed have been influential in their respective fields.

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