It’s not unreasonable to presume that the Leith family are descended from Scottish stock that came to Ulster in the late seventeenth century. We first find them, however, in the Ballymena area with a startlingly unimaginative pool of names between them; the profusion of Johns, Samuels, James’, Roberts and Agnes’ make the handful of Philip Robinsons I struggled with (see here) seem very straightforward indeed.
The first documented Leith we know of is John who was born around 1820 and in a scene reminiscent of a certain Howard Keel musical most of his sons married Craig sisters. The exception was Archibald, born sometime after 1820 he married Nancy Agnes Smyth. They had two daughters that we know of; Agnes who ended up in Australia married to Frank Smith from Kidderminster, and Elizabeth, whose youngest son found his way to California. Other family members also reached America, some via Canada. Archibald and Nancy’s son, John, was my great great grandfather and worked on the Northern Counties Railway before his death in Belfast in 1907. He was married in 1869 to Ellen Rae (1852-1934) and had nine children, the second of whom we meet in more detail below:
Dorothy Ellen Foster Leith