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Surname Wadleigh - Meaning and Origin

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Wadleigh: What does the surname Wadleigh mean?

The surname Wadleigh is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and it is a locational or geographical surname. It is derived from an old place named Wadelegh in Devon, England. The name Wadelegh itself means "a meadow that is crossed by a shallow body of water" or "a ford through a meadow" in Old English. It comes from two different words: 'Wade' meaning 'to wade or go' and 'Leah' meaning wood, clearing, meadow, or enclosure. Therefore, the persons named with this surname were likely known for living or working around such an area. Like many other surnames of this type, it may also have been adopted by those who moved from their place of origin to another area, and were then referred to by the name of their birthplace. Given the extensive migration from Britain to other parts of the world, the Wadleigh surname can now be found in many English-speaking countries.

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Wadleigh: Where does the name Wadleigh come from?

Today, the last name Wadleigh is most commonly found in the United States, but is still quite rare. The earliest known record of the surname dates back to 1273, when Adam de Wadalec was recorded in the ‘Register of the Freemen of York.'

Secular records of Wadleighs show a steady growth in the New England part of the United States by the mid-18th century. These records indicate that the first family members arrived in Massachusetts, with some going on to settle in Connecticut and New York.

By the mid-19th century, the Wadleighs had spread from New England to the Midwest, with records showing a growth of the family in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. There have been few recorded Wadleighs since then, though some descendants have migrated to other states.

The surname is still relatively uncommon, with only a few hundred recorded Wadleighs living in the United States today. The majority of current Wadleighs are believed to descend from the New England settlers who first arrived in the country during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Variations of the surname Wadleigh

The surname Wadleigh has several variants, spellings and surnames that date back to the same origin. The most common spellings of the surname are WADLEIGH, WADLOW, WADELOW, WADLEIGH, WADLY, WADDLEIGH, WADDLEE, and WIDDLEY.

The Wadleigh family is believed to have originated in the west of England, particularly Cornwall and Gloucestershire. Historically, the family descended from the name Wodel, which was an early medieval name. By the 15th Century, the spelling of Wadleigh had been adopted as the primary spelling of the surname.

Variations of the Wadleigh surname are seen in places like Scotland, where the variant Waddley is most commonly found. In America, many variations of the spelling Wadleigh were found, including Wadleigh, Wadlow, Widelo, Widdley, and Wadelay. In Australia, Waddleigh is primarily used.

Variants of the Wadleigh surname are found throughout the world today. Different spellings are often seen in different regions or dialects, with Wadleigh, Wadlow, Widdley, and Waddley among the most common.

Having a single origin, the Wadleigh family has expanded all over the world and been adapted to suit local dialects and regions. Whether spelled Wadleigh, Wadlow, Widdley or Waddley, they all share a rich and interesting history tracing back to a single source.

Famous people with the name Wadleigh

  • Edward Wadleigh: American Navy vice admiral.
  • Floyd Wadleigh: American state senator in Vermont.
  • George Wadleigh: American attorney and politician from Massachusetts.
  • John Wadleigh: American politician from New Hampshire.
  • Joseph Alden Wadleigh: American Collector of Customs.
  • Joseph Wadleigh: American farmer and politician from Maine.
  • Mark Wadleigh: American politician from New Hampshire.
  • Robert Wadleigh: American politician from Massachusetts.
  • Stephen Wadleigh: American Revolutionary War captain from New Hampshire.
  • Thomas Norton Wadleigh: American Civil War veteran and politician from New Hampshire.
  • William Pyncheon Wadleigh: American politician from New Hampshire.

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