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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The origins of the Leitch surname lie with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name Leitch began when someone in that family worked as 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.


One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Leitch has appeared include Leach, Leech, Leche, Leitch, Leich, Leetch and others.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leitch research. Another 287 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1150 and 1325 are included under the topic Early Leitch History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Leitch Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Leitch family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Leitch arrived in North America very early:

Leitch Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Robert Leitch settled in New York in 1774

Leitch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John, Samuel and William Leitch arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
  • Alex Leitch, who settled in America, in 1892

Leitch Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Andrey Leitch, aged 53, who emigrated to the United States from Hamilton, in 1903
  • Alfred Leitch, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • A. Leitch, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Anne Leitch, aged 36, who emigrated to America, in 1908
  • Charles Nicol Leitch, aged 64, who emigrated to the United States from Belfast, Ireland, in 1910

Leitch Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Archibald Leitch, aged 65, who settled in St. Thomas, Canada, in 1912
  • Christine Leitch, aged 40, who emigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1922

Leitch Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Dugald Leitch, Scottish convict from Stirling, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Leitch arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848
  • Mary Leitch arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849
  • Jane Leitch arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849
  • Jane Leitch, aged 18, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily"

Leitch Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Leitch arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Edwin Fox" in 1875


  • David Leitch, American actor and stuntman
  • Mrs. M. Leitch, English Matron from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Miss Jessie Wills Leitch, aged 31, English Second Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 11
  • Master Arthur P. Leitch (1909-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Patricia Leitch (b. 1933), Scottish writer, best known for her series of children's books
  • William Leighton Leitch (1804-1883), Scottish landscape watercolour painter and illustrator
  • Sam Leitch, Scottish-born, British television sports presenter
  • Bryan Leitch (b. 1984), Canadian professional ice hockey player
  • Sir Peter Charles Leitch KNZM, QSM (b. 1944), New Zealand businessman, also known as The Mad Butcher for the chain of butcheries he founded
  • Charlotte Cecilia Pitcairn Leitch (1891-1977), British amateur golfer



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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Leitch Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Leitch Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 September 2015 at 17:55.

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