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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.


The surname Leitch was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


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


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 and printed products wherever possible.


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
  • 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
  • David Leitch (1753-1794), Scottish-born founder of Leitch's Station, Kentucky, United States
  • David Leitch (1923-1988), Australian politician
  • Matthew Leitch (b. 1975), British actor

Leitch Historic Events

Halifax Explosion

  • Master Arthur P. Leitch (1909-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

RMS Lusitania

  • Mrs. M. Leitch, English Matron from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking

RMS Titanic

  • 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

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    Other References

    1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
    4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    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 28 June 2016 at 06:36.

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