There are two authorised explanations for the origin of this old French surname. The first is a nickname but at first glance would appear to be habitational for one who lived "Levee de Terre". This literally translated as "on rising ground", however the "rising" was intended to imply that the name holder had risen above the common herd - and was now in or thought to be in - the aristocracy! The second and more probable explanation is that "Levee" is a metonymic for a tax collector, one who specifically organised a "Levee militaire", a tax imposed, usually by the King of France to enable him to wage war. It can be reasonably assumed that this task did not always endear the original Messieurs Levee to their fellow citizens! The name spelling are Leve, Levee and Lalevee, whilst early church recordings include Marie Catharine Levee who married Michel Oliver at St. Germain en Laye on September 12th 1758 and Pierre Levee who married Anne Gerard at Brin Sur Seille, on May 24th 1795. The name is prominent in the Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, although the more usual form is Lalevee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Claude Levefe, which was dated March 15th 1689, christened at Ville au Val, during the reign of King Louis X1V of France, 1643 - 1715. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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