Show ContentsGayle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Gayle surname date from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name originated with an early member who was a person who was known for their cheerful personality and their jovial disposition. The surname Gayle was originally derived form the Old English word gal, which described a person as being pleasant and merry. [1]

Early Origins of the Gayle family

The surname Gayle was first found in Yorkshire where the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Johanna del Gaylle; Agnes del Gaylle; Johannes del Gayle; and Willelmus Gayle as all holding lands there at that time. [2]

One source claims the name is a "Scottish Highlander," [3] and in Scotland, "strangers to the Gadhelic people were called Gall, and this gave rise to surnames such as Gauld, Gall, and the Lowland Galt. Gall in the common speech was pronounced 'Gaw.' A rather common surname in Perth and especially in the Muirton of Balhousie during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. John Gal was witness to a grant to the Blackfriars of Perth in 1334." [4]

Early History of the Gayle family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gayle research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1534, 1546, 1596, 1597, 1628, 1678, 1635, 1702, 1671, 1701, 1680, 1721, 1647, 1721, 1670, 1735 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Gayle History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gayle Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Gayle has been recorded under many different variations, including Gale, Gail, Gaile, Gales and others.

Early Notables of the Gayle family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include George Gale, Mayor of York; Dunstan Gale (fl. 1596), an English poet, author of a poem entitled 'Pyramus and Thisbe,' supposed to have been printed for the first time in 1597. [5] Theophilus Gale (1628-1678), was 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 Mildred Warner in the Colony of Virginia, paternal grandmother of President George Washington; and John Gale (1680-1721), an English Baptist theologian; and his son...
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gayle Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gayle Ranking

In the United States, the name Gayle is the 4,902nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

United States Gayle migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Gayle or a variant listed above:

Gayle Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Gayle, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [7]
  • George Gayle, who landed in Massachusetts in 1690 [7]
Gayle Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Anna M. Gayle, aged 46, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Anna M Gayle, aged 34, who immigrated to America, in 1906
  • Mattie Belle Gayle, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Irene P. Gayle, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1911
  • Mrs. E. D. Gayle, aged 46, who immigrated to America, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Gayle (post 1700) +

  • Shaun Lanard Gayle (b. 1962), former American football cornerback/safety in the NFL
  • John Gayle (1792-1859), Governor of the U.S. state of Alabama from 1831 to 1835
  • Crystal Gayle (b. 1951), American country music singer
  • Charles Gayle (b. 1939), American free jazz saxophonist, pianist, bass clarinetist, and percussionist
  • Sands Gayle, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Virginia State Senate 18th District, 1910-19; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1916 [8]
  • Richard H. Gayle, American politician, U.S. Consul in Montevideo, 1858-61 [8]
  • Margot Gayle, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1956 [8]
  • June Ward Gayle (1865-1942), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Kentucky 7th District, 1900-01; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1904, 1920 [8]
  • John Gayle (1792-1859), American politician, Representative from Alabama 1st District, 1847-49; U.S. District Judge for Louisiana, 1849-59 [8]
  • George W. Gayle, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, 1838-42 [8]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook