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Records were found for my ancestors Sibling James Leeper:


Parish: Annahilt & Magheradrool


James Leeper produced a Testimonial from Rev. Charles Seaton to introduce him to the minister at Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church 12 Oct 1716.  Married in that church to Margaret Curry on 22 Dec 1718 at the same church by Rev. Henry Livingston.

Listed there are the baptisms of his first four children (two others born in Ireland are not listed at this church, so they must have moved).  James arrives in the US colonies in 1738 in PA, and takes his Importation and land Headrights Oath 29 Feb 1739 at Beverly Manor, Augusta, Colonial Virginia stating the six children he brought with him.  Please do not confuse him with the other James Leeper of PA that also had a wife Margaret (different surname), but arrived 1742 and lived in PA.

His children baptized at Ballynahinch were:

Nicholas 17 Nov 1720

Sarah 5 Jan 1723

Jane 7 Mar 1725

Andrew 20 Jul 1728

I am also seeking any possible information on his brother Robert!  (and any more leads)

FYI, this Rev Charles Seaton b.1673 d. 27 Aug 1737 and buried at the Annahilt Presbyterian Church there in County Down.

I may be also contacted at

Wednesday 23rd Aug 2023, 08:05AM

Message Board Replies

  • I am not sure that I would agree that the apparent absence of 2 children from the baptism records means the family moved.  Having worked with plenty of those records I know that baptisms can be missing for a variety of reasons. Faded ink, illegible writing, missing pages and forgetful Ministers being examples. I have seen many where there are gaps against a child’s name. The Minister presumably intended to enter the full name later. Or it may say things like: “baptised a child of James Leeper.” That sort of thing. And not every child was baptised either. Possibly worth going through the original records in PRONI looking for gaps etc.

    Leaper/Leeper was not a very common name in Co Down. (There are none in the county in the 1901 census). RosDavies mentions your family and one other in that area who might be related (Andrew):

    You are lucky to get records for the early 1700s. They are fairly rare.  There may well not be any other documentary evidence of your family in Ireland. The family is likely to have arrived in Ireland in the 1600s, possibly from England. So they may only have lived in Ireland for a couple of generations. MacLysaght says of Leeper: “This English name (meaning runner or jumper, not from leper, as sometimes stated) is well established in Co Donegal since mid seventeenth century.” 

    The 1630 Muster Rolls list just 1 Leaper household in Ulster – Andrew Leaper in Co. Donegal – so your family’s arrival in Down was apparently post 1630.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 23rd Aug 2023, 09:30AM

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