Gilleglas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name Gilleglas lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name Gilleglas was used to indicate a person who person with gray hair. The surname Glass is derived from the Gaelic word glas, which means gray, however, it may also be a shortened Anglicized form of the surname MacGille Glais, which means son of the gray lad. [1]

In England, the name is an occupational name for "one who made or sold glassware." [2]

Early Origins of the Gilleglas family

The surname Gilleglas was first found in Buteshire (Gaelic Siorrachd Bhòid), an island region of western Scotland within the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute. Glass is a "parish, of which the name, in the Gaelic language, signifying "grey," is descriptive of the uncultivated portion of its surface, is about eight miles in extreme length, and five miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of nearly 19,000 acres." [3]

Early records of the family are very scarce. The name is thought to be "a shortened form of Mac Gille glais [who were] families locally called barons from the fifteenth century till recently. In 1506 there is record of a grant of half the lands of Langilculcreich in Bute to Alexander Glass. The name is also in record in Perth in 1674, and fifteen of the name are recorded in the Commissariot Record of Dunblane from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century." [4]

Much father to the south in Devon, England "the present home of the name of Glass in this county is in the Exbourne district. Nicholas Glass was the name of the mayor of Barnstaple in 1787 and 1804. Glass was the name of two Tiverton churchwardens in 1723 and 1724. The name is also established in Wiltshire." [5]

Early History of the Gilleglas family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilleglas research. Another 150 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1652, 1674, 1695, 1773, 1724, 1695, 1773 and are included under the topic Early Gilleglas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilleglas Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Gilleglas has appeared as Glass, Glas, MacGilleglas, Glasse and others.

Early Notables of the Gilleglas family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John Glas (1695-1773), Scottish sectary, only son of Alexander Glas (d. 1724), minister of Auchtermuchty, Fifeshire, afterwards of Kinclaven, Perthshire. He was born at Auchtermuchty on 21 Sept. 1695. "Glas was of even and cheerful disposition, in company free from professional stiffness, and not without a sense of humour. ‘I too can be grave at times,’...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilleglas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gilleglas family to Ireland

Some of the Gilleglas family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gilleglas family

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Gilleglas or a variant listed above include: Duncan Glass who settled in Virginia in 1651 with his wife Mary; William Glass settled in New England in 1709 with his wife, two sons and two daughters.



The Gilleglas 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: Luctor
Motto Translation: I struggle, but am not overwhelmed.


  1. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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