Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Lightbody Name and it's Many Variations

LIGHTBODY, this is how we know it today but it was not how it started out centuries ago.

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 Name

When 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 Name

There 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!

Friday, 29 March 2013

A History Lesson....Setting the Stage

Setting the stage is all about knowing your history, not just your family history, but the events happening throughout the time of your family. This can serve as rich knowledge to understanding what motivated our ancestors to moved where they did.

The family history for our Lightbody line, which we have always heard was two paths, the Scottish and the Irish. While this seems to be accurate and can be supported by research, there are in fact two very distinctive Lightbody lines which appear to not be related to each other, and a great heroic family tale, that if true, places some Lightbody family lines in Scotland in the middle of a great historic event. 

Lets first set the scene before we examine the actual path of our name. These are my versions of what I have gleamed from resources and history books and documentaries so its just the basics.

Background History

Catholicism was flourishing in most of Europe and throughout England, Scotland and Ireland by the 1400's. With the creation of the Church of England by Henry VIII from the Catholic Church in the 1530's, a divide was created causing the beginning of many wars between the two "churches" and often times between England, now Church of England, and Scotland, France and Ireland who remained a Catholic majority.

During the mid and later 1500's there was a Protestant Reformation which eventually spread to France and some of those who fled persecution in France from the Catholic monarchy and church may have found refuge in Scotland in the late 1500's.

Scotland and France had a long history of working together in opposing the English and with the death of Queen Elizabeth,  James Stuart, a protestant who was King of Scotland became King of England as well.

In Ireland, the country was established by the Gauls which had converted to Catholicism by who we know today as St. Patrick.

The land we know as Ulster today (Northern Ireland) was owned by several Irish Catholic nobility. When one of these men, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone found himself in trouble with the English crown and to seek freedom he traded half his lands to Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton, two Scottish Noblemen.

These two men began the "plantation" of protestants from Scotland to Ireland. The land were located in Antrim and Down. There were 9-10,000 settlers in the first few years.

When Hugh O'Neill and other Irish noble families left in 1608, their 4 million acres of lands were confiscated by the English crown and King James decided to reproduce what Montgomery and Hamilton did.

Artisans, gentry from Glasgow, Dumfies, Wigton and Invernary relocated. There were two problems they faced however. First was there were not enough people to work the land so some of the native Irish Catholics, previously removed from these lands came back to work them which led to the second problem, rebellion by the native Irish population.

By the mid 1630's problems between the Church of England which saw the monarchy as the head of the church and the Church of Scotland who saw Jesus as the head of the church clashed, along with unsuccessful growth expected by some of the Scottish planters, a decline began and some moved back to Scotland and others moved to the Americas. 

When Oliver Cromwell invaded, over 11,000 Scottish and English soldiers arrived to put down the Catholic rebellions. Tens of thousands of deaths occurred with the scorched earth policy of Cromwell, a devote protestant. 

Most of the Catholics were pushed back to beyond the Shannon river in the south but eventually with many of the planters leaving, lands were taken back. 

In Scotland a famine in the 1680-90's led to large scale migration of generally lowland Scottish Presbyterians to the lands in County Down, Armagh, Antrim, where we eventually see most Lightbody names located. The estimated guess is between 50-80,000.

This is significant since Lightbodys are mainly lowland families.  In addition there were the 1715 & 1746 Jacobite or Catholic uprisings which saw tens of thousands and more also immigrate mostly to North America.

Between 1717-1718 over 5000 left the lowlands for Ulster
1725-29 there were thousands more with 6000 alone in 1728
1740's was another famine
1754-1755 another period of migration
1771-1775 saw 25,000 leave Scotland.

This was the migration of the Scottish to Ireland. Also between 1717-1775 some 200,000 also left Ulster for North America, Australia and Canada. Ireland was just a stopping point. 

The earliest documentation from vital statistic records in Scotland show the family name appearing in the around 1590 and in the first decade of 1600. It was not until the late 1600's and most likely the early 1700's that we can find similar documentation in the northern part of Ireland. 

There has been the odd Lightbody family in other parts of what we now know as Catholic Ireland, most settle in Counties Down, Antrim and Armagh. What documents so far the can be found indicate most of the Lightbody families arrived most likely around 1740-1750 and in what is now the United States, Lightbody families began arriving around the 1740's. In Co. Armagh 1743 is a date listed for a probate of two Lightbody men.

The Lines of Lightbody Families

The English Line
The English line can trace it's beginnings back to the Domesday Book of 1066 and the name Boda (body). This line was very particular in it's location remaining in the southern part of England and migrating only to the mid upper part of England. There are English Lightbody families that have migrated from England but most remained.

The Scottish Line
The Lightbody family has for the most part been regarded as protestant and in particular as Presbyterian. This is very important because Presbyterianism was born out of the Scottish Reformation in the mid 1500's. Most documents that can be found indicate protestants were either Presbyterian or Church of England/Church of Scotland/Church of Ireland.

In Scotland there are two potential lines that could both be very real yet the evidence to support these are limited. That however is common. The French Line and the MacGregor Line.

The French Line
Some researchers of the family name in Scotland believe, some of the lines have their origin back in France in the 1500's. As the French protestants fled Catholic France they immigrated to Scotland. In the same time period in Scotland the name LaBaudy begins to appear. The name, depending on the accent and the language could be translate to look like Leghbodie if spelt phonetically.

The MacGregor Line
This is a very interesting story for sure. During the time of the wars between Mary Queen of Scots and the English Monarchy, a man by the name of John Reynolds MacGregor and his son John, crawled across a lake of thin ice to warn their fellow Scots of an impending attack by the English from some cliffs the Scots were to pass throughout the next day.

Mary Queen of Scots knighted them Sir Archibald Reynolds Lightbody and Sir John Reynolds Lightbody in honour of their slight build. This story comes from Dorothy Therese Lightbody's family line.

If this is true then some lines may be connected to the clan MacGregor. No evidence has been found to substantiate the family story. Perhaps this may be our line!

What about the Irish Line? After all some of us are Ulster Scots! 
For some of the Irish lines this would be very accurate. I believe now that our particular line may have had only one generation born, raised and died in Ireland so I don't think that makes us Ulster Scots.

For me, Ulster Scots were those from the original planters from the 1600's who had their own culture outside of the Irish. Ulster Scots were not part of the main society. They were presbyterians living in a world often ostracized by the Church of England protestants in Ireland and the native Catholic Irish. 

Some may disagree but I think and believe, just as some of our ancestors did and have written, we are Scottish. All the stories we have heard from our elders, grandparents and great-grandparents are that the Lightbody family was from Scotland. While we can document only the Irish part at this point, if the Lightbody families were among those who did leave Scotland for Ireland then we can reasonable speculate the Scottish stories are very true. 

There are Lightbody families throughout these three counties in the first few decades of the 1700s. Some owned mills, others were involved with community and local events of the day. 

After a few decades in Ireland there began another migration of Lightbody families. Some returned to Scotland and others took the trans-Atlantic voyage to the Thirteen Colonies and what would later become the United States of America. We can find Irish Lightbody families (unsure if there is an actual connection to our branch) in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Delaware states prior to the American War of Independence.

However, our family remained in Ireland until 1812 when they decided on the New World and in-particular..... New York! Did they have family there? We don't know yet, but what we do know is that they never made it New York. Fate, destiny, and the British Navy had other plans.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Why Do We Care Where We Come From?

Why are we so determined to know where we have come from? The country, the village, the house, we just have this need to know and know every little bit. Every generation and usually every person at some point has a desire to know where they come from. Perhaps its part of our tribal based culture where being apart or identifying as part of a group can give you a sense of pride or fellowship. 

Often times we have not actually met the people we research at all, they died years before we were even born, but the desire and drive exists to know. Perhaps its because the only way of knowing our great great greats is through pictures, stories, personal belongings and identifying where they came from. Maybe it's just a great mystery waiting to be solved!

For myself, I have asked why I have spent over 30 years doing research and the answer that rings the most truthful for me is my Grandfather Hugh Lightbody. He was a good soul, a good man, flawed and imperfect, idealistic and loyal. Kind, compassionate, full of ambition and fight, sense of duty. He was creative, fun loving, mischievousness, and complex. 

1970 Hugh Lightbody & Me
I knew him for just 5 short years of my life and when he past it left me wanting to know more. I had to rely on stories from my family, pictures I would sit and look at for hours. It was when I found papers that he had started showing the family history he was beginning to trace, I decided this was the way I could keep him close to me. While his spirit stayed with me for years after his passing, it has now moved on but I still feel, a palpable feeling, that continuing to look and discover his history is in honour of him, in honour of those five years, those solid foundation years of complete love, acceptance and an unbreakable bond a grandfather and granddaughter share. 

I also admit, I love the detective stuff... and the occasional travelling is nice too. So this began as a way to keep my Grampie close to me and now I can say that because of him, in a way he may never have imagined, I have met some great people, seem some wonderful places, shared experiences that are priceless and met more family I could have ever imagined. To answer the question of this post... To Blog or Not to Blog?....What I am doing in this blog is now for them, for the family, for you! 

Regardless of your belief that knowing where you come from is really important or not at all, it really is a matter of being in the DNA... you could say, needing to know is just part of us.

There is a belief that we influence seven generations ahead of us through our DNA and we are also influenced by the seven generations in the past. Well for our family line that means almost 175 years or more back in putting a date on the youngest of our family at 5 years and the oldest at 80 years the influence on us goes all the way back to John Lightbody and Anne Huching who we believe were from Killinchy County Down, Northern Ireland and puts a time stamp of about 1750.