The surname Leask comes from a small Scottish Clan that was based north of Aberdeen in the Parish of Slains. There are still small hamlets with Leask in their name and the area itself is called the Hills of Leask. The Clan was scattered to the four winds in the 17th century when it invested money it didn’t have in the Darien scheme, a hair brained idea based on developing land in Panama. It had been promoted as a way Scotland could regain its former wealth and glory. Many Scottish Clans came to grief when it failed to deliver.
See below for a potted history gleaned at great expense and effort from a souvenir shop north of the border..
For more historical details as well as the history and variations on the Leask name see the Clan Leask website http://www.clan-leask.org.uk. We even now have a Wiki site, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Leask. Leasks are still evident in the area as well as on the Orkneys, a group of Islands just to the north of Scotland. They can also be found further north on the Shetland Islands as well as the USA, Canada, and New Zealand. My own line, representing the poorer, hedonistic side of the Clan is based around the East End of London. a genealogical link has recently been found with Scotland. One way the name may have spread was the existence of the Hudson Bay Company in the Orkneys. Many inhabitants emigrated whilst in its employ.
Good sources of information are Madam Leask of Leask’s book, “The Leasks”, 1980; and an article called “The Leasks Worldwide” in the Clan Leask Society Newsletter Autumn 1998.
Below is a map of the area. The grids are 1km square. Save the file and then view it in an Image Editor. The map is an Ordnance Survey Landranger series, no. 30. All rights acknowledged.
I have acquired a copy of a report written in July 1952 giving details of the Parish of Slains. Its not particularily informative about the Leask Clan but is interesting for the geographical details it gives of the area. Between 1897 and 1945 the Hills of Leask had its own Railway Station! I have also got a 1696 list of inhabitants for the area, see the Poll Tax page.