There are two "authorised" versions of the meaning of this unusual French surname. The first is habitational and something of a (possibly sarcastic) nickname. It is habitational and refers to "levee de terre" which literally means "rising ground" but in this case is land which is owned by those that have "risen" above the common - ie. the aristocracy. The second and most probable explanation is that "levee" is a metonymic for a tax collected, one who specifically organised a "Levee Militare", 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 there fellow citizens! The name spellings are Leve, Levee and Lalevee, whilst early church recordings include Marie Catharine Levee who married Michel Olivier at St. Germain en Laye, on September 12th 1758 and Pierre Levee who married Ann 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 Lavevee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Claude Levefe which was dated March 13th 1689, christened at Ville au Val, Meurthe - et - Moselle. 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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