Giles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Giles reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is based on the medieval given name Giles. This name is derived from the Greek aigidion, which means kid, or young goat.

Another source claims the family were originally Norman from "La Gile or Gueilles, Normandy as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Robert de Gueilles of Normandy 1198. [1]

Early Origins of the Giles family

The surname Giles was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where Gilo and Ghilo were both listed. [2] Shortly after Wido filius Gisel was listed in Lincolnshire as was Gisle, Egidius, Gilo, Gile in 1183-1187.

About this time, the first records of the name as a surname appeared: Ailward, Godfrey Gile in the Pipe Rolls for Berkshire and Northumberland 1176, 1191; William Gyles in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; William Gilis in the Assize Rolls for Kent in 1317; and Nicholas Gisel in Suffolk in 1346. [3]

"The Domesday Book Gilo has been identified with Old German Gilo, equivalent to Gislebertus, and this is supported by the forms Gisel, Gisle. The Latinization of this by Egidius shows that the scribe associated the name with Giles, a difficult name, regularly translated Egidius, from Greek ayíiov 'kid'. The name of the 7th-century Provengal hermit St Ægidius spread widely and survives as Gidi, Gidy in southern France, as Gili, Gilli in the Alpes-Maritimes, elsewhere as Gile, Gille. The popularity of this form in England is proved both by the number of churches dedicated to St Giles and by the frequent medieval Egidius." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Egidius, or Gilius Gowsell, Lincolnshire; Jordan filius Egidii, Lincolnshire; and Osbert filius Egidii, Lincolnshire. [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, the first record was of William Gilis who gave his land of Mosplat to the church of Lanark c. 1214. But we must wait over three hundred years to find the next references: Robert Geliss was chaplain in 1527, and Jhone Gelis was one of an inquest on lands of Gowane (Govan) in the same year. [5]

Early History of the Giles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Giles research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1273, 1296, 1317, 1346, 1615, 1681, 1741, 1564, 1576, 1680, 1755, 1652, 1621, 1644, 1640, 1709, 1634, 1567 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Giles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Giles Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Giles has been recorded under many different variations, including Giles, Gyles, Jiles and others.

Early Notables of the Giles family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Gyles (ca.1680-1755), American interpreter and soldier, best known for his account of his experiences with the Malecite tribes. Mascal Gyles (died 1652), was an English vicar of Ditchling, Sussex, from 1621 to 1644; and Henry Gyles or Giles (1640?-1709), was an English...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Giles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Giles family to Ireland

Some of the Giles family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Giles migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Giless were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Giles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jonathan Giles, who arrived in Virginia in 1619 [6]
  • Jonathin Giles, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • Margrett Giles, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • Hen Giles, who landed in Virginia in 1634 [6]
  • Edward Giles who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Giles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Job Giles, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [6]
  • Robert Giles, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [6]
  • Ellis Giles, who arrived in Virginia in 1707 [6]
  • Win Giles, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • William Giles, who settled in Maryland in 1719
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Giles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Giles, who arrived in America in 1805 [6]
  • William Giles, who landed in America in 1820 [6]
  • Alexander Giles, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1830 [6]
  • John Giles, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [6]
  • Thomas W Giles, who landed in Boston, Maas in 1840 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Giles migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Giles Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Giles, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • William Giles, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Jona Giles, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Nathan Giles, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Edward Giles, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Giles Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Giles, who settled in Torbay, Newfoundland in 1801 [7]
  • William Giles, who arrived in Canada in 1830
  • Mary Giles, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Charlotte" from Cork, Ireland
  • Nancy Giles, aged 36, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Charlotte" from Cork, Ireland
  • Mr. Enoch Giles, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Rosalinda" departing 22nd June 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 7th August 1847 but he died on board [8]

Australia Giles migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Giles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Giles(b. 1775), aged 45, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 9th August 1819, sentenced for 7 years for stealing cordage, transported aboard the ship "Prince of Orange" in October 1820 to Australia [9]
  • Mr. John Giles, (b. 1795), aged 33 born in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK convicted in Somerset on 29th March 1828, sentenced for 14 years for Burglary, transported aboard the ship "York" in 1829 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [10]
  • Abraham Giles, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [11]
  • William Giles, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • Mr. John Giles, English convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Giles migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Giles Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Giles, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Giles, aged 27, a farm labourer, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • Mr. John Giles, (b. 1813), aged 27, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Olympus" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 20th April 1841 [14]
  • Miss Ada Augusta Oriental Giles, (b. 1856), aged Infant, British settler born aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 25th February 1856 [14]
  • Mr. Launcelot Giles, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 25th February 1856 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Giles (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Benjamin Franklin Giles (1892-1974), American Commanding General of the U.S. Army Forces Africa-Middle East Theater (1945-1946) [15]
  • Lieutenant-General Barney McKinney Giles (1892-1984), American Commanding General of the U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (1945-1946) [16]
  • Marcus William Giles (b. 1978), American Major League baseball player
  • William Branch Giles (1762-1830), American statesman, and politician, governor of Virginia (1827-1830)
  • John Allen Giles (1808-1884), English editor and translator, son of William Giles, born on 26 Oct. 1808 at Southwick House, in the parish of Mark, Somerset, the residence of his father and grandfather
  • Michael Rex Giles (b. 1942), English drummer, best known as a co-founder of King Crimson (1969)
  • William "Ernest" Powell Giles (1835-1897), English-born, Australian explorer who led three major expeditions in central Australia
  • Ashley Giles (b. 1973), English cricketer
  • James Giles (1801-1870), Scottish landscape-painter, born at Glasgow, 4 Jan. 1801, his father, a native of Aberdeenshire, was an artist of some local repute, but his death threw his son at an early age upon his own resources
  • Patricia Jessie Giles AM (1928-2017), née White, Australian women's activist and politician, Senator for Western Australia (1981-1993)
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. William Giles (1890-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William Henry Giles (1917-1939), British Stoker 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [18]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. John Robert Giles (d. 1912), aged 30, English Baker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Edgar Giles (d. 1912), aged 21, English Second Class passenger from Porthleven, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Frederick Edward Giles (d. 1912), aged 20, English Second Class passenger from Porthleven, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Ralph Giles (d. 1912), aged 25, English Second Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [19]


The Giles Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pensez a moi
Motto Translation: Think of me.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 77)
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1834
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 5) Benjamin Giles. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Giles/Benjamin_Franklin/USA.html
  16. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 5) Barney Giles. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Giles/Barney_McKinney/USA.html
  17. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  18. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  19. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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