Recorded in several spellings including Leis, Leij, Leijs, van Leijs, van Leijen, Leys, and probably others, this is a Dutch surname. It is almost certainly residential from a place where slate (lei) was produced, and this would seem to be confirmed by the spelling of van Leijs and van Leijen. Residential surnames were often amongst the earliest to be created, as to be named after your own estate was the height of one upmanship, and remains so. It is said that in the Netherlands the preposition of 'van' does not quite have the same aristocratic meaning as the French 'de' or the German 'von' because the country has republican instincts. This may be so, as the coat of arms associated with this surname is not from the Netherlands at all, but the Tyrol, a long way off and considerably higher above sea level. However it is possible that the original holders of the arms may have had links with the province of Orange, now part of France, but the original and spiritual home of the Dutch royal family. The blazon of the arms is party per fess, gold and blue, charged with in chief, a demi dragon, and in base a silver cross. The surviving early Dutch church register recordings are later than in England. Examples include David van der Leij, of Leiden, Zuid Holland, on September 9th 1661, Arij van Leijen of Gravenzande, Zuid Holland, on December 4th 1673, and Coreijn Leijs of Kadzand, Zeeland, on October 29th 1679.
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