This is not a scientific story on how the English language evolved. It's to explain the interesting way our name has changed over the centuries with a little dash of fun.
Spelling of the NameWhen the name first began appearing in Scottish records in the mid to late 1500's it looked different. Lyghbodie, Lyghbody and even Leebodie. When pronounced the name is more "lee-body". Now going with the assumption that most likely the name was french in origin
and the name may have been LeBaudy, given the spelling style of the time period and the translation when spoken it would be very close and logical.
Now...add a Scottish accent to it and it would be easy to spell it the way it sounds and you have Lyghbodie from LeBaudy. The other name LeeBody is another variation and in my own personal opinion is more true to the French name and meaning. More on that further down the page.
Phonetics also plays a key roll. In the time period we are talking about, reading and writing were not as common an education as we have today. You spoke and wrote the way words sounded.
This is important to note because when there were births, deaths and marriages to be recorded, census records taken, ship passenger lists, the person doing the recording may have spelt the way they thought the name should look like based on what they heard for the actual person speaking it and the education level and spelling style of the recorder at the time. An example is the word "house". With an accent it could be spelled "hoose" or "huse". Smith is so easy to alter to "Smyth". While the vowel is sharp in one it's long in the other. Time, place, era, culture, language all play a role.
Into the early 1600's the name changed slightly to Lichtbodie. Now when it comes to writing the word out, not all writing is created equal and ink does smudge. I am not sure where the "c" comes from because that is a very specific sound. There are records where the "L" looks like an "S" and the name Syghbodie or Sightbody is then created.
Most defiantly by the time the Lightbody families left Scotland for Ireland and the New World the name was more like we see today.
Meaning of the NameThere are two very different meanings to the name Lightbody. The most common one is what we believe is a "light" "body", but that depends on where the name comes from.
The English beginnings were "Boda" which in 1066 was Celtic in origin and may mean blond. Perhaps the adding of Light to the name may mean a "light" blonde person. (being a little sarcastic).
This is defiantly different then the Scottish meaning of someone being light in weight or being quick and nimble such as Lytebodie.
Then there is the French version of LeBaudy which may have meant joyful.
Just for fun and to throw a curve ball into this name, there is another type of meaning because "Light" also can mean someone who sees a light. Call it spirit, energy or a God of some kind. This is more of a spiritual meaning. Then there is the energy field of the human body which is called the LightBody.
So this is an interesting collection of possible meanings and for fun when we add them together we may have a light blond quick and nimble person who is spiritually connected to the activated energy field of their body. Not bad at all!