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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Gales family come from? What is the English Gales family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gales family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gales family history?

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.


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.

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.


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.


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


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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  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  9. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. 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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