Tag Archives: Sinclair

Clan Leask USA Gathering at the Virginia Scottish Games

We’re a couple of days after the Virginia Scottish Games and I think I’m finally recovered. What a fantastic weekend! Hosting the Clan Leask USA tent at the games was a ton of fun and from other clans to Leasks I’d never met we got to meet a lot of new people!

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In total we had 26 guests spend time at the tent, 14 of which were completely new friends to Clan Leask. Four of those attended specifically to learn more about our histroy based on the postcard sent out prior to the games! We met a Polish Lieske who saw the similarity with Liesk and wanted to learn more about potential connection; a Lesh of German ancestry, curious about the Y-DNA links; and a young Stewart who was walking around the clans asking about their history learning about other Scottish clans. At least four visitors said they would consider participating in the Leask Y-DNA study.

In addition there were, of course, the other clan tents. MacTavish was the honored clan but a few familiars were in attendance including Sinclair and Hay with whom the Leasks have direct connections and alliances.

John McPherson Leask II, Mac, was interviewed a German student who was interviewing individuals with Scottish heritage to find out what family and clan meant to them and how their Scottish heratige fit into their life. She also asked about our opinion on the vote coming up on September 18th, to which we very carefully acknowledged that we do not know all the facts and won’t be directly affected by the results. Mac Leask, lead researcher for Clan Leask USA, told her that the decision belonged with the Scots who live in Scotland and will have to live with the result, whatever it is.

I’m very proud of our prepartion leading into the games. Clan Leask USA was represented by two three foot by five foot banners showing all thirteen spellings of Leask. We had two clan members in kilts wearing Leask tartan and two women and a child wearing Leask sashes – all Leask tartan reprsented at this games was the Weathered tartan, not the ancient registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans. Our table was lined with the Leask tartan and we had a number of brochures to hand out. We also had a photo album of my parents and my visit to Scotland from 2001.

We had three borchures to share: Potential Origin Stories, Documented History (here, here, and here), and an update on the Y-DNA study (links go to content pulled from the brochure and shared on this site).

Overall I am very pleased to have had the oportunity to represent the Leasks at a Scottish Games and look forward to doing so again soon – we hope to participate at the Virginia Scottish Games again in 2015 as well as, potentially, games in New Hampshire or Georgia in the coming years. If there’s a games near you we should consider let us know!

Origins of the Leasks in Orkney and Shetland

My specific family line hails from Shetland, with my great grandfather Leask having grown up on the shores of Channerwick Beach. In the early 2000s my mother, father, and I visited Shetland and saw the stone cottage my great grandfather lived in – what a humbling expierience. Here are some of the documented facts of early Leasks in Orkney and Shetland as they appear in our upcoming brochure Researching the Leasks: Documented Historical Evidence. As always, we welcome your thoughts on this evidence and any insights into how your family may relate or what stories they may have passed around the Leasks in Orkney and Shetland.

In 1391 Thomas de Laysak (Lask) traveled to Kirkwell, Orkney, where he was one of the witnesses to a charter issued by Henry St. Clair (Sinclair), the Earl of Orkney. The Orkney Leasks are descended from James of Lask, younger son of Thomas de Lask of that Ilk, the second Chief of the Leasks, who is recorded at various times during 1388-1400 in the Scottish Public Records.

James of Lask emigrated to Orkney in 1446. His descendants, through son Boniface Lesk, have been traced to Isabella Logie Leask of Orkney, who married James Leask, b. 1802, of Westbank, Kirkwall, Orkney, and was the Great Grandfather of J. W. G Leask of that Ilk. Richard Leask, another grandson of James of Lask, accompanied Sir David Sinclair to Sumburgh when he was appointed Fold of Shetland and became his co-executor in 1506. He is presumed to be progenitor of all Leask families in Shetland.

It was not until c.1450 that the Orkney and Shetland Isles became part of Scotland when they were brought as her dowry by Margaret of Denmark when she came to marry King James II of Scotland.

For more about research of the Leasks check out our research site at http://research.leask.com/