There are many spellings of the name Leask: Leisk, Liesk, Lisk, Lesh, Laesk, Lask, Lesk, Leysk, Laysk, and Lusk. This website was created to encourage research about the history of the Clan and Leasks of all spellings; and to document what is known or believed to be known about the Clan’s history. Our hope is that others will contribute the knowledge they glean from their own research of the period before 1800 or contribute what they know from their family archives.
We need your help to increase the number of participants in the Leask Y-DNA Surname Study and to make the results more meaningful. Additionally, the study needs to include some members of the Clan Chief’s line.
Summary of the Leask Surname Y-DNA Surname Study to date: July 2013
The key Question: Is the Clan Leask of Pict, Frisian, Briton, Saxon, Danish, Orcadian, Norman, Viking or some other origin. The Y-DNA study indicates the answer for the most of the Leask’s tested so far is that the Clan Leask’s origin is either Frisian, Anglo-Saxon or Danish and the tested Leasks are likely to have originated in either Friesland or Jutland.
Surnames tested in the Leask Surname Y-DNA Study so far are: Leask, Lisk, Leisk, Lusk. Three distinct lines have been discovered up to this point for Clan Leask. Two of them though different are more closely related (both having the L48 SNP) and are likely to have a similar geographic origin and a common ancestor. The third line (group #3) does not have the L48 SNP and appears to have a different geographic origin. Lusk was tested at their request because oral family history for some, not all of the Lusks claimed Lusk was an Irish spelling of Leask. Leask Group #1 and Leask Group #2 are both U106+. This haplogroup is also known as R1b-S21 (a.k.a U-106) on Eupedia. Leask Group #3 is not U-106 but is U-152. Group #3’s haplogroup is known as R1b-S28 (U152) on Eupedia.
The articles found on Eupedia.com are interesting. Groups #1 & #2 are likely from Friesland or Central Jutland according to the experts on Eupedia. (See http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml#S21-U106). According to Eupedia its presence in other parts of Europe can be attributed to the 5th- and 6th-century Germanic migrations. The Frisians and Saxons spread this haplogroup: to the British Isles, to the Franks and France, to Belgium, and through the Lombards to Austria and Northern Italy. W. F. Skene pointed to evidence of Frisian settlements in Scotland in his article “On the Early Frisian Settlements in Scotland.” He speculated that the Frisians left their name on the parish in Aberdeenshire known as Foveran. Because the third group is R1b1a2a1a1b4 and is R-L21+ and is not R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48 like groups #1 & #2; I conclude they are of a different geographic origin. Group #3 is thought to have come north from Iberia to England and Ireland (http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml#L21).
More information on the study can be found on the section of this website known as: The Y-DNA Surname Study under Clan Research
AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
We are challenged to do a better job researching key parts of the history of the Clan Leask. Can you help with the research? Can you contribute anything from your family’s archives? The documents as listed in the section of this website entitled “Known & Documented Historical Evidence of Clan Leask” give us some evidence of the history of the Leasks, especially when reviewed in the context of the history of the locations where Leasks have lived. To make that easier we are adding a section to the website entitled “Related Events”
Our challenge is two fold. First, we must locate more documents to add to the historical evidence of the history of the Leasks prior to the 1800s. Second, we must find ways to fill in the gaps in our knowledge with research of the several areas.
We want to learn much more about the origin of the Leasks, including all we can about:
- Exactly when did the Leasks first settle in Slains, Aberdeenshire in the areas that bear there name?
- Where did they live prior to there arrival in Slains, Aberdeenshire?
- What can we learn about the history of the relationships between the Leasks and other Clans that lived in and around the Leask homeland such as the Clans Comyn, Hays, Sinclair, Gordon, Frazier, and Forbes?
- Why did the Leasks go to Orkney during the reign of Earl Henry Sinclair and what was the nature and history of ties between Clan Leask, Clan Sinclair and Clan Gunn? (Niven Sinclair believed the Leasks like the Gunns had close ties to Earl Henry Sinclair and the other Sinclair Earls of Orkney)
- Exactly what was the role of the Leasks in Orkney and Shetland during the reign of the Sinclair Earls of Orkney?
- Were the Leasks in Orkney or Shetland prior to the reign of Earl Henry Sinclair?
- When did the Leasks acquire land on the Isle of Papa Westray, in Orkney? (Sir Brian Chalmers Leask claimed the Leasks were in Papa Westray as early as 1084 AD but we have found no evidence of a Leask presence in Orkney prior to the rein of Earl Henry Sinclair.)
- We want to determine if the claims of Madam Leask in her booklet on the Leasks and by Sir Brian Chalmers Leask in his writings that certain Leasks were at one time kinsmen of the King of Denmark? (“Eric Laesk in Orkney was by repute Crown Chamberlain to his kinsman, the King of Denmark, when Orkney belonged to that country.” according to Madam Leask as in her booklet on the history of the Leasks on page 1.) (…From 1460-1470 William de Lask acts as Crown Chamberlain for the King Denmark in Papa Westray and is stated as a descendant of the Danish Royal line.” as found in Sir Brian Chalmers Leask, book Leask’s Australian Genealogies on page 332.) Today the names Leask, Lask and Laesk are names found in Denmark. However, we have seen no evidence to support the claims of a tie to the Danish Royal line.
- Some claim the Shetland Leasks are descended from Richard Lask, son of “Jamis of Lask” who reportedly emigrated to Orkney in 1446 AD. Jamis of Lask (also known as Jamis of Orkney) was the second son of Thomas de Lask, the second known Clan Chief of the Leasks. He is reputed to have married a grand daughter of Earl Henry Sinclair. Sir Brian Chalmers Leask claimed he was also be known as Jamis de Craigy. We have seen no evidence of these claims. It all needs to be researched.
- There is a claim that Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, made a trip to the Americas. Niven Sinclair states he believes the Leask’s were part of that trip. That such a trip actually took place is disputed by many experts and advocated for by others. We are interested in any evidence regarding such a trip and any possible Leask involvement.
- There is a claim the Leasks were on the first or second crusade. There is a claim that is the reason for the crescent on the Leask Clan badge. We have seen no evidence of this claim. These claims need to be researched.
- Earl Henry Sinclair is reputed to have been head of the Scottish Knights Templar. Were any members of the Clan Leask involved in the Scottish Knights Templar?
- We need to find out more about the genetic origin of the clan Leask using Y-DNA studies of the Leask’s and studies of the migration of peoples using Y-DNA.
- We want to learn more about the land of Leask and any archeological studies done in the general area including but not limited to:The Tumulus located on the land of Leask, The ‘Battlefield of Leask’, The weapons and other archeological finds discovered on the land of Leask, The ‘Chapel of Leask’, The graveyard located around the Chapel of Leask, and Who lived and owned the Land of Leask prior to 1300?
- We would like to learn if de Lask, Leask, Slains, Ellon, or any term that includes or is variation of the name Leask, appear in the Chronicles of the Picts, Inquisito, or Black Book of the Exchequer.
- We would like to learn more about the original “Ragman Role” (“Statue of Rageman – de Ragemannis) as prepared by local Churches for a legate of Scotland, who compelled all clergy to give a true account of their benefices, that they might be taxed by Rome accordingly. Subsequently it was applied to four great rolls of parchment recording acts of fealty and homage done by the Scottish nobility to Edward I in 1296. Though the originals perished a record of them is preserved in the Rolls House, Chancery Lane. The Leask’s may appear in King Edward’s August 28, 1296 ragman roll signed during the “parliament” held by Edward I at Berwick, as William de Lafkerefk (del county fyf). In the 13th Century f was used to represent s, and fyf = fife (hence William de Laskeresk of fife. Is a Leask really a signer of the smaller Ragmen Role signed in 1291, which nobles signed at Norham on Tweed in 1291. What implications does this have on Leask History? Was William de Lafkerefk really William de Lask as claimed and if so why the reference to Fife?