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. 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 the 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. 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 neither is their having been referred to since as “Pennsylvania Dutch” accurate either. 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 half a century.

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 people to send 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 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.

The data which follows is extracted, in part, from Lehman, Layman Genealogy Handbook, sometimes hereinafter referred to as LLGH, which was made available for distribution in 2006. It is a comprehensive summary of all known early Lehman families by all spellings. Included are known European origins with descendants enumerated whose life extended to at or about the advent of the 20th Century. The book is six by nine inches, hard bound in dark red cloth with gold lettering. It is 280 pages including indexes. Families are grouped with help from the results of 70 y-chromosome DNA tests completed as of the date that this book went to the publisher. Index contains more than 1,200 people named Lehman by numerous spellings, mostly born before 1850 with, to avoid confusion, the actual or an estimated birth date of each. A total of more than 2,000 names and 400 locations are indexed. 

If you have reached a “sticking place,” having traced your family to an ancestor born in the late 1700s or early 1800s and can make no further progress, this book will probably help you get unstuck. You have, from the onset, been working backward in time from the present. In the beginning, that was all that you could do. This book starts with the pre-1760 immigrant and outlines his known descendants to the fourth or fifth generation. That generally comes down to folks born up to about the mid 19th Century. You may know from DNA Y-Chromosome tests which early families match your DNA. If you have not found a Lehman male relative to do a test, however, that is not fatal to further progress. You will, with the aid provided by this book, be working foreword in time as well as backward in time. The object, of course, is to connect the two. If you have traced your Lehman ancestors to one born about 1820 or before, he will probably connect with contemporary Lehmans in this book.
            When published in 2006, LLGH represented the very latest in Lehman, by any spelling, genealogy. It had the benefit, however, of only 70 DNA Y-Chromosome tests and 61 of those were the most rudimentary 10-marker tests. By early 2011 the Lehman project included more than 130 results; many of them of 37 or 67 markers. Descendants of most pre-1755 Lehman immigrants had been identified, had participated in DNA tests, and the family line assigned an identifying letter designation. Lehman, by any spelling, has indeed come a long way since the year 2000, when few of us knew who our immigrant ancestor was and most of us, including the compiler, erroneously believed that we were of German, as opposed to Swiss, ancestry.

Lehman, Layman Genealogy Handbook, 2011 Supplement, hereafter sometimes called The Supplement, was made available for distribution in early 2011. It is 85 pages including index and is in paperback. It brought the  information in LLGH to a state of the art status as of early 2011. For those folks who have the 2006 book, the cost of the Supplement is $8. Price of both Lehman, Layman Genealogy Handbook and the 2011 Supplement is $28 and, either way, your compiler will pay the postage. 

Time marches on. By early 2014, a total of more than 160 test results had been recorded and analyzed. The additional 30-plus tests, combined with continuing historical research, has resulted in further advances in Lehman genealogy and that progress has been updated as of early 2014. 

There must be a better way to publish progress than to publish an additional bound volume every few years. Accordingly, the update is on three hole punched paper, printed on both sides and suitable to being placed in a 3 ring notebook. By doing it this way, future updates can be added, perhaps even by simply substituting pages, thus eliminating future individual bound documents to maintain documentation of Lehman research on a current basis. A copy is $7.00
This update is most useful when used in conjunction with the original 2006 Lehman Layman Genealogy Handbook and the 2011 Supplement. If you do not have those, your check for $35 payable to me at the address below will get all three publications in the mail to you.         
This might be an appropriate time to mention that, as of the last revision of this page, I am down to 3 copies of the 2006 Lehman Layman Genealogy Handbook. I have plenty of the updates.

 Response to the update has been good and the Lehman Project General Fund has been rejuvenated. 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 2014 Update contains names of an additional 21 Lehman immigrants born before 1800. Almost surely some of those later immigrants are the immigrant ancestor of participants whose result has no match in the project so far. If your name is Lehman, by any one of a plethora of spellings, not all of which appear with the coat of arms adjoining this text, and your immigrant ancestor arrived no later than the early 1800s, these publications represent the "cutting edge of knowledge," including results of more than 160 DNA tests. They probably contains data relating to your ancestors. Some effort may be required, however, in order to make the connection and these books are designed to help the Lehman researcher do just that. 
             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 herein. It is only 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.com2525 Lakefront Ln., Knoxville, TN 37922. Revised 21 Dec 2015.


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