I really need to sort out the Leiths.

and the Leitches.

and Leeches.

But it’s a bit daunting. Snatches of information and too many people with the same name and, of course, all the inherent problems with Irish records.

There are lots of good trees leading up to the early 19th century, but once you get to Ballymena and its environs the picture starts to break up and we get several Johns who may or may not be the same person, several instances of same name siblings, possible multiple marriages, Archibalds clearly in the wrong place, and it all gets into a bit of a mess.


A brush with minor royalty

Much as I am vehemently against inherited privilege, my great-grandfather, John Leith, would have been chuffed to receive this gift from the then Governor-General of the Union of South Africa (the Earl of Athlone and husband of Princess Alice, granddaughter of Queen Victoria), on his retirement from the railways.


As the following letter shows, John was in charge of the train that the Governor-General often used to travel around the country on his frequent ceremonial tours.


Interesting aside

It’s now almost certain that my dad’s grandfather and my mum’s grandfather were both involved in the Relief of Ladysmith during the Boer War. It’s also true that mum’s same grandfather and dad’s other grandfather were both involved in South Africa’s WW1 campaign in what is now Namibia.

We know they never met in a family setting, perhaps they did in wartime.