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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com 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.

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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.


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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.

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Another 159 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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

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  • 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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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Gales Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com 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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