Show ContentsLack History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Lack is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It was a name given to a doctor. Throughout the Middle Ages, doctors were known as "leaches" as the practice of bleeding sick people was the generally accepted manner of curing them. There are countless people in the Middle Ages who died thanks to the common cold; not because the virus killed them, but because they bled to death on the advice of their physicians. Bleeding was accomplished by placing a dozen or so leaches on the person who was ill so that they could remove the poisons that were making them ill, hence the name "leach" for the occupation of doctor. It is small wonder that illness was so feared in the medieval period; many people died from illnesses that would not have otherwise killed them because their doctors were weakening them through loss of blood.

Since the 1970s, Hirudo medicinalis, better known as the European medicinal leech has been routinely used to drain blood after reconstructive surgery, particularly in finger reattachment and reconstructive surgery of the ear, nose, lip, and eyelid.

Early Origins of the Lack family

The surname Lack was first found in Oxfordshire where the earliest records of the family were found as Edmund le Leche and William le Leche who were both listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. A few years later, Robert le Leche was listed in the Writs of Parliament of 1307. [1]

Further north in Scotland, many records were found including: Henry Leche held a tenement in Glasgow in 1325. "Henry Leche, is later referred to in a safe conduct by Edward III of England in 1348 as "Hector medicus David de Bruys." From another reference to him in 1369, he turns out to be a MacBeth, perhaps one of the family of hereditary doctors of that name so famous in West Highland history. Wilham de Lech or Leche was burgess of Aberdeen, 1362. He may be William Leche, merchant of Aberdeen, whose goods were plundered in England, 1370, when his ship was driven ashore in Kirklee Rode, Suffolk." [2] They also settled in Monteith where they gave their name to Leitchtown.

Early History of the Lack family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lack research. Another 431 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1363, 1372, 1367, 1386, 1421, 1440, 1487, 1452, 1484, 1500, 1511, 1520, 1779, 1638, 1550, 1767, 1639, 1580, 1587, 1666, 1624, 1429, 1466 and are included under the topic Early Lack History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lack Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Lack include Leach, Leech, Leche, Leitch, Leich, Leetch and others.

Early Notables of the Lack family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Lack Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lack Ranking

In the United States, the name Lack is the 9,221st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3] However, in France, the name Lack is ranked the 6,964th most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Lack family to Ireland

Some of the Lack family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Lack migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Lack were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Lack Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joh Engelbert Lack, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731 [5]
  • J Henrich Lack, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763 [5]
Lack Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nanette Lack, who landed in America in 1852 [5]

Australia Lack migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Lack Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Lack, English convict who was convicted in Buckinghamshire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Canton" on 20th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Edward Lack, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Bronte" in 1849 [7]
  • Miss Susan Lack, (b. 1834), aged 18, Cornish nursemaid departing from Plymouth on 10th October 1851 aboard the ship "Clifton" arriving in Point Henry, Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 30th January 1852 [8]

New Zealand Lack migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Lack Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Lack, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861

Contemporary Notables of the name Lack (post 1700) +

  • Fredell Lack (1922-2017), American violinist, C. W. Moores Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston
  • Thomas Lack, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Chester County, 1901-02 [9]
  • Jonathon H. Lack, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alaska, 2004 [9]
  • James J. Lack, American Republican politician, Member of New York State Senate 2nd District, 1979-91 [9]
  • Bill Lack, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 2008 [9]
  • Andrew John Lack (b. 1953), English biologist and author
  • David Lambert Lack (1910-1973), British evolutionary biologist awarded the Darwin Medal in 1972
  • Stephen Lack (b. 1946), Genie Award-winning Canadian actor and screenwriter

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUKE OF BRONTE 1849. Retrieved from
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook