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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The earliest origins of the family name Gales date back to the Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It was a name given to a person who was known for their cheerful personality and their jovial disposition. The surname Gales was originally derived form the Old English word gal, which described a person as being pleasant and merry.


The surname Gales was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Gales include Gale, Gail, Gaile, Gales and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gales research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1534, 1546, 1628, 1678, 1635, 1702, 1671, 1701, 1680, 1721, 1647, 1721, 1670 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Gales History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notables of the family at this time include George Gale, Mayor of York; Theophilus Gale (1628-1678), an English educationalist, nonconformist and theologian of dissent from Kingsteignton, Devon; Thomas Gale (1635?-1702), an English classical scholar, antiquarian and cleric from Scruton, Yorkshire; Mildred Gale (1671-1701), born...

Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Gales Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Gales, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1877

Gales Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Gales landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840

  • Lawrence Bernard "Larry" Gales (1936-1995), American jazz double-bassist
  • Joseph Gales Jr. (1786-1860), English-born, American journalist, son of Joseph Gales
  • Kenny Gales (b. 1972), American former NFL football player for the Chicago Bears (1995)
  • Winifred Marshall Gales (1761-1839), American novelist and memoirist
  • Eric Gales (b. 1974), American blues-rock guitarist
  • Joseph Gales (1761-1841), English journalist, newspaper publisher and politician, Editor of the Sheffield Register (17871794)

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    Other References

    1. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
    3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    5. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The Gales Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Gales Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 29 September 2014 at 19:22.

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