This is a surname which can be of Russian, Polish, Slavonic and occasionally East German origins. It is a diminutive and patronymic form of the original Hebrew name Levi. Deriving from the word 'levi' meaning 'joining', and borne it is said, by a son of Jacob, ethnically it is often Jewish, and if so describes a member of the Levites. However when not Jewish it is Christian, and one of the early "Crusader" names, brought back from the Holy Land in the 12th century by soldiers and pilgrims who took part in the famous crusades to free Palestine from the conquering Muslims. There were at least twelve crusades, with kings, knights, and other soldiers drawn from every Christian country in Europe, from Russia to Spain. However in spite of a huge investment in men and machines, the crusades had one common demonimator - they all failed! Surprisingly this did not in anyway dampen the ardour of the participants in giving Biblical names to their own children, on their return to their respective countries. As a result many personal names of a Hebrew or Greek source with biblical associations became ultimately Western surnames and this number does include names such as Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, with their patroymics. It is estimated that the Levi spellings, which include Levy, Levitte, Levens, Levenson, Levensky, and Levitsky, exceed fifty, and are now to be found in most countries of the western hemisphere.
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