Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Leech/Leach family, from Wexford to Beckwith

As with all the pictures, click to view full size

The Leach family coat of arms

     The Leach surname is another occupational patronym. It was given to people who practiced medicine, such as it was. Doctors were referred to as leachs/leechs because of their use of them to bleed patients.
The Leach family is a sept of the MacBeth or MacDonald clan.

     Although there isn't a direct family connection like the Porter, Fisher, Sadler or Craigs, the Leach/Leech family (I have both spellings)  has a unique place in our history so I have included the little bit of information I have.

County Wexford and it's relative place in the UK

     It starts in Wexford, Ireland, not sure if it is the county or the town, with William Leach. He was born in 1750 and married Anne Edwards, born 1752,  from Wicklow. Together they had eight children,
George 1778
William Henry 1780
James 1783
Elizabeth 1786
Susan May 27, 1788
Samuel  1798

   William was killed in the battle of Vinegar Hill in 1798, one of many Irish uprisings.

Landscape shot of the site of the battle of Vinegar Hill

     Susan Leach married James Lucas, June 5, 1782-March 8 1844, of Kilkenney. Their daughter Maria Lucas was born in 1813 in Carlow. The family emigrated to Canada around 1815 and their daughter Maria married Robert Lewis Nov. 14, 1833 in Ontario.
     Maria and Robert Lewis' daughter Anne was born May 5, 1852 in Ontario. The family is not in the 1851 Beckwith census, so I'm not sure where they settled. On April 14, 1875, she married John Porter. Their daughter Maria Lavina was Herbert Leach Fisher's mother.

     Samuel Leach was born in 1798 in Wicklow. Samuel emigrated around 1820. He married Jane Saunders in 1824 in Beckwith at the Franktown English church. Jane was born in 1795 in Kilkenney, Ireland.

   In the 1851 census of Beckwith, Samuel and Jane are on Lot 4, Concession 21 with five children; William, Jane, Helen, Samuel and Sarah. There is a sixth child, Thomas Kidd with the family. The next entry is for James Leach, his wife Anne and their two children Samuel and Margaret. In total Samuel and Jane had eight children.

James 1825
George Feb 1 1826
Mary Anne Jan 11, 1827
William 1829
Jane 1833
Ellen(Helen) 1836
Sarah July 12, 1838
Samuel July 12, 1838
     Samuel and Jane's daughter Sarah married William Albert Fisher. Their son William married Maria Lavina Porter and their son was Herbert Leach Fisher.

     A brother and sister married on different continents, into different families and then four generations later reunited in my grandfather's generation. I thought it was interesting. The Leach's also married into the Geddes family which also married into the Fisher's of my grandfather's generation so there is a lot of Leach blood in our veins.

Sarah Leach, her husband William Albert and their son William

Sarah and her sisters I'm assuming
Sarah is the only person identified in this picture
from the resemblance the other two are probably her sisters, Mary Anne, Helen or Jane

Sarah's brothers and sisters?
Only Sarah and William Albert are identified, back right

Mrs. Nicolas Leach
No one knew why this picture was with my grandfather's effects
Nicolas Leach was a witness at the marriage of William Fisher and Maria Lavina Porter

John Geddes and Sarah Jane Leech Sarah is the grand daughter of Samuel and Jane Saunders

     I know none of my Leach relatives so please feel free to contact me to say hello. If you have any information or other family photos to share, I'll be happy to put it up. I would love to be able to put a positive identification to all the people in the photos. To contact me, click on my profile, About Me. It will take you to an email link. I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Paul,
    Great presentation on your Leach family. It inspires me to do similar things with my own family data.
    I don't yet know of a connection, so let me just ask my question: In your research, I wonder if you came across any Leach that might have lived in Dublin (reasonably close to Wexford, I would say)? I have an Ann Leach b abt 1821 who married a ? Purcell, and lived in Dublin. According to family lore, the husband/father Purcell was killed in a pub brawl near Phoenix Park, close to where they lived, and probably between 1860 and 1870. We know of three children born in Dublin...James Leach Purcell, Mary T Purcell, and Fenton Peter Purcell, my great grandfather. There is quite a bit of a gap between their birth years - 1850 to 1862. James Leach Purcell emigrated to NY in 1870 and mother, Ann Leach Purcell, daughter, Mary Purcell and son Fenton Purcell followed in 1871. I've got it from there...but don't yet know Ann's roots or more about her husband.
    Thanks for your time,
    Mary Beth McNeil

  2. Hi Mary Beth, In looking for my Leach family I came across quite a few families but only as they emigrated to Canada. Personally, I have had absolutely no luck finding any of my ancestors Ireland, the records are hard to find if your not there to look. I have another Leach I'm trying to track down who married into the Lumsden line. So many Leachs so little time LOL From what I have found in my Canadian searches, they were/are a prolific bunch so lots to try and track. Good luck in your searching and I'll let you know if I find anything. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by.

  3. I have been looking on and have found that I have family in Canada with the last name Leach> My great grandmother was a African American who migrated to Canada with a Frenchman named Leach and had five children. They settled in Ottawa Ontario Canada after fleeing the south. Can you help

  4. I think we are connected. My grandfather was Henry Ennest Leach, born in New York, and his father Henry Russell, and grandfather William Henry.

  5. Hi Paul

    I have been doing some research concerning my Leach family heritage.
    I am now living in NZ immigrating across from South Africa.
    I was told that my Great Grandfather William (Bill)Leach immigrated to South Africa from Ireland sometime after WW1 my grandmother was an adult during WW2 with my father being born in 1945. Can you please point me in the right direction as to where I can possibly get more information about his life in Ireland.

    Thanks so much for your info so far, much appreciated.

    Brendon Leach

  6. Hi Paul, my name is Janice a descendant from William and Anne Edwards Leach 6 great daughter William Henry 1780

    My interest is prior to 1780 royal blood line of Ireland linked to Jewish descendantcy. I get the British rebellion as it comes upon us once again, I believe God is all that will save us this time. Shalom Write back

    Janice Lewis

  7. I’m a direct descendant of the leech family! If you want you can email me at

  8. I was given a beautiful family bible that belonged to Beverly Leech who worked for my dad. Bev was an on,y child and has no descendants. I just discovered Bev’s bible is from the Leech family from Ontario and has a family history written in it starting with the marriage of John Leech (Perth ON) to Sarah W Moles (Unionville ON) in 1858. Their children were: Richard Edward (1859), Eliza Barbara (1861), William John (1862), Mary Evelyn (1864), George Wesley (1869), Ernest Robert (1876). I would love to put this gorgeous bible back into one of the family’s hands.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".