Leslie Family History Resources

Updated 27 May 2003: Look for seven "New find:" labels and updated links in Internet Resources

Contents: Background | Clan Leslie Society | Books | Internet Resources | Contact


Leslie is one of Scotland's oldest families, tracing its origins to Bartholomew, Hungarian-born chamberlain to Queen Margaret who, according to legend, married Beatrix, sister of King Malcolm III, was knighted, and acquired Leslie lands in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere in 1070. Leslie nobles, generals and officials were for many years regarded as a major power behind the Scottish throne. Leslie castles and great houses in Scotland and Ireland still bear the name, and all are associated with descendants of Bartholomew. Like most American Leslies, I have not yet traced my lineage all the way back to Bartholomew, but through the Clan Leslie Society and its generous members, Leslies around the world are learning our family's rich history, getting to know one another, and piecing together clues about common ancestors.

One of the most generous Leslies, David Leslie, an architect from Aberdeen, and his wife Leslie bought the ruined stone castle at Leslie by Insch in Aberdeenshire in 1985. After years of restoration, they invited Leslies from around the world to join them in celebrating the Leslie Clan's 925th anniversary together at a three-day gathering at the castle in June 1995. More than 350 members of Clan Leslie and "septs" or allied families of Lang, Moore, Carney, and Abernethy attended. (See two delighted visitors by clicking here.) By far Canadadians were the most numerous, with U.S. Leslies next, then the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Norway, and Chile. David and Leslie Leslie planned and hosted the event and created a wonderful feeling of reunion among many people who had never met previously. Another generous Leslie, Clan Chieftain Ian, the 21st Earl of Rothes, who lives in Salsbury, opened festivities. A Texan, Rosalie Leslie Loreto, inspired the organization of a special tour for Leslies throughout Scotland before and after the gathering and provided background that helped tour participants understand the significance of many sites in Leslie history. Alexander Leslie Klieforth, founder of the American Clan Leslie Society, was unable to attend the gathering, but his recently published book consolidating many years of research delighted all who discovered it at the gathering. The gathering left everyone who attended with wonderful memories, new friends, and a keener sense of the intertwining of but lesser importance of national compared to family history and ties. The American Clan Leslie Society that year became simply the Clan Leslie Society, reflecting its international membership. Clan Leslie Society gathers biennially at a different Scottish Games event, most recently in and near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, in September 2000.

I am a descendant of the American Leslie branch founded by George Leslie, settler in South Carolina before the American Revolution. The tombstone in Beersheba Presbyterian Church cemetery in York County, SC, of this earliest Leslie ancestor and his wife, Mary, has the name spelled Lassley (see photo made in October 1999). This George Lassley or Leslie is described in Alexander Leslie Klieforth's (1993) book as well as Barrett's (1990) on pp. 9-23. George's son Samuel is described in Barrett (1990) on pp. 25-33. Samuel's son Samuel and all these male ancestors' wives and children are identified in the online descendancy charts by Robert L. Odom at http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/o/d/o/Robert-L-Odom-SC/GENE2-0003.html. My descent from George Leslie or Lassley, whom I believe to be the first American immigrant in my Leslie line, is as follows:

1. George Leslie, b. 1734 or 1735, (Co. Antrim, Ireland?), d. 1775, York Dist., S.C.

2. Samuel Leslie, b. ca. 1767 York Dist. S.C., d. 1837 Phillips Co. Ark.

3. Samuel Leslie, b. 1808 (York Co. or Spartanburg Co.) S.C., d. 1856 Hempstead Co., Ark.

4. George C. Leslie, b. ca. 1851 Hempstead Co., Ark., d. 1894 (Ark.?)

5. William Samuel Leslie, b. 1884 Hempstead Co., Ark., d. 1964 in Ark.

6. Reuben Lloyd Leslie, Sr., b. 1924 Hempstead Co., Ark., d. 2000 in Ark.

7. Reuben Lloyd Leslie, Jr., b. 1950 Nashville, Howard Co., Ark.

The descendants of my grandparents, W.S. Leslie and Margaret Gertrude Ramage Leslie, and their eight children meet annually on Thanksgiving Day (November in the U.S.A.) at the community center in Nashville, Howard County, Arkansas, near the original homeplace of the family in Hempstead County, Arkansas. We are scattered throughout the country, but usually more than 100 reunite to pray, visit, eat, sing and play together every year. Teachers, Missionary Baptist preachers, musicians and educators are predominant occupations in this group of Leslies, and community service, church work and music are important activities for almost everyone in all branches.

Clan Leslie Society

Clan Leslie Society (CLS) was founded in 1978 as the American Clan Leslie Society by Alexander Leslie Klieforth at the request of the Earl of Rothes, Leslie Clan Chief. Its first biennial national gathering was in 1980. CLS publishes Grip Fast newsletter bimonthly and the Journal (record of gatherings) and The Griffin (historical research) annually. In 1995, American CLS became simply "Clan Leslie Society" to welcome all nationalities. To join, or for more information, contact Leslie K. Seich, Secretary/Registrar, Clan Leslie Society, P.O. Box 845, Jackson, New Jersey 08527, or visit the Clan Leslie Society official website (launched 21 January 2000) at http://www.clanlesliesociety.org.


Barrett, Ruth Leslie. 1990. The Leslie Line: Ancestors of Five Leslie Brothers. Well researched, carefully analyzed, well documented and clearly presented history. Available at the Texas State Library and Archives Genealogy Collection. This book contains many details about the five sons of George Leslie (1734-1775), who was one of four brothers (or two pairs of brothers who may have been kin) of Scottish descent who were born in Ireland and settled in South Carolina in the mid-1700s.

James, Marquis. 1938. The Life of Andrew Jackson. New York, New York: Bobs Merrill. On pp. 5-6 and 790-797 (an extended footnote about the controversy over whether Andrew Jackson was born in North or South Carolina) are several mentions of the Leslie brothers, John and Samuel, who married Mary and Sarah Hutchinson, sisters of Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, President Andrew Jackson's mother.

Klieforth, Alexander Leslie. 1993. Grip Fast: The Leslies in History. This is a beautifully written and illustrated 290-page book describing Leslie family origins, branches, and the more than 900-year story of Leslies participating in Scottish and world history. To order, send $66 (includes postage and handling) to Clan Leslie Society, PO Box 845, Jackson, NJ 08527 USA or 40 (plus 3.50 postage and packing) to Grip Fast, PO Box 1556, Salisbury SP5 1TL, UK.

Leslie, Ruth Cleveland. 1956. Lesley Leslie: A History of 200 Years in America. Washington, D.C.: Courant Press, Inc. This book includes some background on Scottish origins of Leslie family, but it is primarily a history of the many descendants of William Robert Leslie, who emigrated from Dublin, Ireland to America in 1755 with his brother John, and settled in western Virginia.

Lessley, Samuel B. 1983. Lessley Family Records. Claremore, Oklahoma. Well written story of a Southern Lessley branch.

Murphy, Vice Admiral Marion F. 1978. Early Leslies in York County. San Diego, California.

Sinclair, Wendy J. 1993. Saint Margaret Queen of Scotland: Her Family History and Links with Europe. Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland: Pitcairn Publications. Pamphlet of 20 pp. is filled with interesting and clearly presented details of genealogy, including not only that of Margaret, in whose service Bartholomew, the founder of the Leslie clan traveled to Scotland, but also the lineage of Margaret's husband, Malcolm III Canmore, the King of Scotland, which is also the lineage of the King's sister Beatrix, who married Bartholomew, founder of the Leslie clan. If these lineages are correct, Leslies who trace their lineage to Bartholomew and Beatrix can also claim descent from Alpin, King of Scots, who died in 834.

Wilson, Alan J. 1993. Saint Margaret Queen of Scotland. Edinburgh, Scotland: John Donald Publishers, Ltd. 134-page book with illustrations, "...quite the best book on St Margaret and her times..." in Hungary, England and Scotland, according to the Very Reverend Dr. Ronald Selby Wright. Although the book does not name him, Margaret's Chamberlain, presumably Bartholomew, is mentioned in a description, on pp. 92, citing a book by Turgot (1868), of the Queen's daily habit of charity: "She and the king would then wash the feet of six poor people and give them something to relieve their state of poverty. These six people were found during the previous night by the Chamberlain whose job it was also to prepare them for the arrival of the king and queen in the morning." The book contains many more stories of daily saintly service to orphans and the poor, including serving food to 300 personally, in which the queen's close contact with her neediest subjects must have presented a special challenge to her chamberlain and body guard.

Internet Resources

Clan Leslie Society official website, launched 21 January 2000, thanks to Leslie K. Seich who chaired the Website Development Committee and is now Webmaster & Database Manager, Clan Leslie Society.

North Americans Searching for Leslie Roots

New find: Scotch-Irish-L. Email list for discussion and research on Scotch-Irish or Ulster Scots genealogy and culture, hosted and managed by Linda Merle, with rich archives. "These people began a period of heavy emigration from Ulster in the early 1700's and played a large part in the American Revolution. They form one of the root stocks of the American people, yet their history is largely forgotten or misunderstood. This list will aim to correct that and provide assistance in tracking ancestors back to Ulster."

Robert L. Odom's Descendants of ? Lesslie which lists spouses and descendants of the four Lesslie men believed to have been brothers, but whose parentage is unknown.

Lasley Family Genealogy Forum

Lassley Surname and Family Lists on Rootsweb.com

Lasley Surname and Family Lists on Rootsweb.com

Samuel B. Lessley's Lessley Family Records website

Website of "The Family History Show" broadcast until recently on KRLD, AM 1080 in Dallas and on the Texas State Network Sundays from 10 PM until midnight, CDT, and available on the Internet world wide. Website still features a very comprehensive "Surname Guide" and other great tools by host, Michael Matthews.

Family Tree Maker's forum on Leslie, Lessley, etc.

Website for joining an active Leslie genealogy list serve

Message board for genealogy of Leslies of the southern US

Arkansas History Commission

Nova Scotia Leslies

Reuben & Eudora Leslie home page

Austin Genealogical Society

Website of the Texas Scottish Festival, held annually in early June in Arlington, Texas. David Leslie White has hosted a Leslie Clan tent for several years. See photos from 2001 convening of the Southwest Branch of CLS!

Leslie Seich's genealogy website linking a Leslie line to Castledawson, Northern Ireland

New find: Tim Leslie's Genealogy Website with online database and photos

New find: Descendants of George Leslie (the younger) of Burdsbank or Birdsbank, sheriff-clerk of Banffshire 1675-82 on Daniel Morgan's Genealogy Pages.

New find: Leslie Family Tree by Leslie Foster

New find: Dr. Leslie and the Composing Room Project. Very interesting biography by Erin K. Malone of a Leslie famous in graphic design circles.

New find: Brenda Grace Leslie's genealogy page


General Clan Leslie Information

James Darrin Leslie's unofficial Clan Leslie website with descriptions and (UK) order blanks for Clan Leslie Society's publications

Camelot International's brief fact sheet about Clan Leslie

Historical article by the Scottish Military Historical Society about a famous regiment, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, originally raised in 1689 by the Earl of Leven, a famous Leslie general, in whose honor Leslie tartan is used for the regiment's trews

Scottish Tartans Society article about the category of regimental tartans

Scottish Tartans Society registry index

Roots and Relations In Scotland

The Genealogy of the Leslie Family (Earls and Dukes of Rothes) by Edward Hall

Website of the British Council in Slovenia featuring information and links from a series of lectures on 17th Century Scotsman Walter Leslie as well as other connections to Slovenia by David Worthington, MA, of the University of Aberdeen

"Leslie of Aberdeen, Scotland" by Dr. Mark Humphrys, Dublin, Ireland, about his wife's ancestry. Note links to fascinating essays on genealogy, history, and the World Wide Web.

Castle Leslie, Leslie by Insch, Scotland, Celtic Castles listing, with before-and-after-restoration photos and several inside views (and noting that the castle is no longer open to guests)

Castle Leslie, Leslie by Insch, Scotland, now obsolete listing about accommodations with picture of the castle and another of David and Leslie Leslie

Garioch Home Page with beautiful photos of Bennachie

CD of the Grampian Police Pipe Band, marchers at the 1995 gathering at Leslie Castle, Leslie by Insch

Catholic Online Saints article about St. Margaret of Scotland, b.1045, d.1093. The feastday is November 16 for this princess who became wife of King Malcolm, and in whose service Bartholomew, the first Leslie, journeyed to Scotland.

Photo of ruins of Leslie Castle, Leslie by Insch before restoration

Aberdeen and Northeast Scotland Family History Society

Aberdeenshire Council site about Bennachie, the legendary mountain in the heart of old Leslie lands in Aberdeenshire

Pittodrie House hotel headquarters for the 1995 Leslie Castle Gathering Coach Tour group

Article about what Roman historian Tacitus called the Battle of Mons Graupius, believed to have been faught at Bennachie in AD 84.

Leslie in Fife gazeteer entry with pictures and bibliography

Fife Family History Society

In Ireland

Irish Family History Foundation with links to Antrim and Monaghan and other counties

Ulster Historical Foundation page for Counties Antrim and Down

Ulster Historical Foundation home page

The Leslie Papers (MIC/606 and T/3827), archives in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland from Castle Leslie, Glaslough, County Monaghan...very interesting history.

Home page for Castle Leslie, Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland

Fine essay "Looking for Castle Leslie" by James Leavey which includes the only online quotation I've found of a verse quoted by Tom Leslie at the Castle Gathering in 1995. In the essay, the author attributes this quote to Sir John Leslie, current baronet of the castle: 'Dean [Jonathan] Swift was a regular visitor to the Castle on his way to Armagh and wrote many verses about the family, not all of them complimentary:
'Here I am in Castle Leslie
With rows of books upon the shelves
Written by the Leslies
All about themselves.'


Please address comments and inquiries to Reuben Lloyd Leslie, Jr., 12203 Antoinette Place, Austin, Texas 78727-5334, USA, Telephone: 512 837-6181, e-mail: rlsd@io.com.

Thanks for visiting! Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 by Reuben Lloyd Leslie, Jr.

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