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

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

The Clan from whom the Gillies family descends began among the ancient Dalriadan kingdom of the west coast of Scotland. Their name comes from the Gaelic words "gille Iose," which means "servant of Jesus."


Historical recordings of the name Gillies include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Gillies, Gillis, Gillie, Gilly, Gilles, Gillieson and many more.

First found in Lothian, where a member of the family was a witness to the charter, by King David I, to the Abbey of Holyrood. In 1160, Vhtred Gilise inherited the estates in Lothian. It is also recorded that M. filius Gilise, who was a close confidant of King Malcolm IV of Scotland, was witness to a charter signed at the Abbey of Scone in 1164.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillies research. Another 129 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1264, 1376, 1521, 1747, 1836, 1778 and 1793 are included under the topic Early Gillies History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 51 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillies Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Gillies family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Gillies Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Gillies, who arrived in America in 1620

Gillies Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Gillies, who landed in New York in 1738
  • Catharine Gillies, who landed in New York in 1739
  • Janet Gillies, who landed in New York in 1739
  • Robert Gillies, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766
  • Robert Gillies settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1766

Gillies Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Derrick Gillies settled in Philadelphia in 1815
  • A. B. Gillies, aged 33, settled in New York in 1823

Gillies Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Angus Gillies, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • May Gillies, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • James Gillies, aged 35, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834
  • Alex Gillies, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1848
  • Catherine Gillies, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1848

Gillies Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Gillies arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840
  • Andrew Gillies, aged 50, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"
  • John Gillies, aged 31, a ploughman, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"
  • James Gillies, aged 25, a ploughman, arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

Gillies Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Gillies landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Gillies, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848
  • Margaret Gillies, aged 28, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848
  • Robert Gillies, aged 8, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848
  • John Gillies, aged 6, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848


  • Valerie Gillies (b. 1948), Scottish poet, winner of the Eric Gregory Award in 1976
  • Thomas Bannatyne Gillies (1828-1889), Scottish-born, New Zealand politician
  • Duncan Gillies (1834-1903), Scottish-born, Australian colonial politician, 14th Premier of Victoria
  • John Gillies (1747-1836), Scottish historian and classical scholar, Historiographer Royal for Scotland
  • Sir William George Gillies (1898-1973), Scottish landscape and still life painter
  • Harold Delf Gillies (1882-1960), New Zealand otolaryngologist widely considered the father of plastic surgery
  • Donald Bruce Gillies (1928-1975), Canadian mathematician and computer scientist
  • Michael Thomas Gillies (1920-1999), award-winning English medical entomologist
  • Daniel Gillies (b. 1976), New Zealand actor
  • William Neil "Neal" Gillies (1868-1928), Australian Premier of Queensland in 1925



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: Touch not the cat bot a glove
Motto Translation: Touch not the cat without a glove


Gillies Clan Badge
Gillies Clan Badge

Buy JPG Image

A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Gillies
Gilice, Gilie, Gilies, Gilis, Gillice, Gillie, Gillies, Gillis, Gilly, Gillys, Gily, Gilys, Gylys and more.


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  1. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Gillies Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gillies 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 3 February 2015 at 15:36.

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