Lehman, Layman, Lemon Genealogy;


DNA Enhanced



It is widely known that the German language surname, "Lehman,"  came into being with the advent of the surname system. Often one's occupation became his surname. Ours is generally considered to have meant "vassal" or one who works the land. It was a term applied to one who had become bound to a section of real estate as a "fief" with no ownership. Moreover, unlike our own sharecroppers of a century ago, he could not quit and go to work for another landowner but was attached for life to a particular parcel of real property and its owner. He was pretty far back in  the socio-economic pecking order.

In German-speaking Switzerland, the name is reputed to have an entirely different derivation. Another frequent surname source was the location where one lived. Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 313 tells us that Lehman is a Mennonite family name originating in the Emmental, meaning the valley of the Emme River in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland. The name, according to Mennonite Encyclopedia, means “a person living on a gentle slope.” Near Langnau, there is a farm named Lehn, because of its topography. For centuries it has been, and still is, the home of a Lehman family. Evidence to support this theory of the origin of the Lehman surname in Switzerland has not been found. Likewise, the widespread notion that the Lehman surname in Switzerland originated with a Lehman Mennonite family at Langnau will not withstand scrutiny. See the Langnau page of this website.

The most common spellings of the surname in Switzerland were “Lehman,” “Leeman”and “Lehmann” but there were  also quite a few others. Rietstap's Armorial General lists15 blazons for the surname Lehmann, and you can take a look at  all 15 of them at http://coadb.com/index.php?search=lehman.

It may be said that the influx of German-speaking immigrants to Great Britain's American Colonies in general and through the port of Philadelphia in particular in the first half of the 18th Century resulted, either directly or indirectly, from two causes. Underlying the entire scenario was the effects of religious armed conflicts in Europe, primarily the Thirty Years War which devastated much of Europe and particularly Germany.. The second, and probably the most direct cause, was religious persecution in several European countries including specifically persecution of Anabaptists in Switzerland and particularly in Canton Bern.

Generally, at the time of immigration in the first half of the 18th Century, the German-speaking immigrants were referred to as "Palatinians." This is not entirely accurate, but even more inaccurate is their having been referred to since as “Pennsylvania Dutch.”  The misnomer came about as a result of many refugees from religious persecution in Switzerland and France having sought temporary refuge in the Palatinate. It is located primarily on the west side of the middle Rhine River and is known today as the Rhineland Pfalz or simply as the Pfalz. The Dutch in "Pennsylvania Dutch is a corruption of "deutsch" which in the German language means "German."

The forced emigration from Canton Bern probably reached its peak in the years between 1660-1675. Gratz, at p. 36, cites several sources for the fact that about 700 Anabaptists departed Canton Bern for the Palatinate and Alsace in 1671. Names of families that participated in this mass exodus, according to Gratz, included Lehman, Shenk, Bachman, Stauffer, Whitmer and others. Almost invariably, these names appear in Chester, later to be Lancaster Co., PA on tax lists in 1718. Simple arithmetic tells us that the 1717 immigrants would have been probably grandchildren of the 1671 refugees. Unfortunately, there exists a dearth of records of births, marriages or anything else of these families over this period of roughly half a century. Sometimes we don't even know where they were for more than 50 years..

In 1691 another wave of persecution commenced when it was decreed that all those who did not swear allegiance nor carry arms should no longer be tolerated. The exodus began anew and continued through the first two decades of the Eighteenth Century. Queen Ann of England took advantage of this opportunity to recruit settlers to the frontiers of the North American Colonies. Books and papers were dispersed in the Palatinate in 1708 and 1709, with Queen Ann's picture on the front. The letters on the title page were in gold so the book became known as The  Golden Book.  It’s purpose was to encourage the Palatines to come to England in order to be sent to settle in America

Three centuries later, enter Y-Chromosome DNA testing. As we do more and more 37, 67 and even 111-marker tests in the Lehman project, the confusion arising from the 61 original ten-marker tests diminishes and will, without doubt, eventually disappear. See further explanation on  the "About DNA Testing" page. The researcher is urged to click on that link at the heels of this page and read that page through before then proceeding to ascertain what knowledge DNA tests have brought forth about his or her individual family. It may be quite revealing.

Thanks to everyone who has donated to the  Lehman Project General Fund; monies are currently available. If you think that a test of your Lehman (by any spelling) line would be helpful but have not done so because of the cost, please contact the compiler. 

The new book that was promised has now been published and is available for distribution. It is entitled Lehman, Layman etc. Family History, DNA Enhanced. It is hard bound with a total of 464 pages, organized along the same lines as Lehman, Layman Genealogy Handbook, published in 2006.
            Our knowledge of Lehman etc. genealogy has increased greatly over the last 11 years. Descent charts are brought foreward one generation further than previously. Fifty additional DNA tests are analyzed and the family line of descent included if it was furnished. Further, and probably of the most significance, I have scrutinized my notes for various and sundry tidbits of information that was not previously included. Additionally, approximately 200 contributors are given credit. If anyone is left out, please attribute it to advancing age.
            You may find a typo or an error in punctuation here and there. Hopefully, errors of substance are few. Thankfully and most importantly, the Good Lord did see fit to allow my sight to hold out long enough for me to finish the book.
            On the positive side, I think that you will find an enormous amount of Lehmann etc. genealogical information.The books are now in hand and orders are being filled.. The price is $30 which will not cover my costs. It was a labor of love and not an enterprise for profit. For your copy or copies, send your check to Earl Layman, 2525 Lakefront Dr., Knoxville, TN 37922-6538. I pledge to have your book in the mail within no more than a week of receipt of your check. 
            Admittedly, over the 18 months that went into compiling the book, keeping the information in this web site current has suffered. Differences should be resolved in favor of the book. Bringing he information in this web site to a current status is now the first order of business.

In the interest of furthering and enhancing knowledge of the various Lehman, by all spellings, families, permission is freely given to disseminate, distribute or publish any factual information included on this web site. It is respectfully expected that the courtesy be extended of crediting this web site and its compiler.  

Information was compiled and edited by Earl R. Layman, elayman814@aol.com 2525 Lakefront Dr. , Knoxville , TN 37922 . Revised 10/02/ 2017.


Home | About DNA Testing | Category A | Families B thru G Families H thru Z. 5| How to Participate| Appendix to Test Results| Swiss Emmental Families|