Gilliss History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The root of the ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name Gilliss is the Gaelic words "gille Iose," which means "servant of Jesus."

Early Origins of the Gilliss family

The surname Gilliss was 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.

Early History of the Gilliss family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilliss research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1264, 1376, 1521, 1747, 1836, 1778 and 1793 are included under the topic Early Gilliss History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilliss Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Gilliss family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilliss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gilliss family to Ireland

Some of the Gilliss family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gilliss migration to the United States +

Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Gilliss, or a variant listed above:

Gilliss Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Eleanor Gilliss, aged 71, originally from Bracside, Ontario Canada, who arrived in New York in 1913 aboard the ship "Havana" from Nassau, Bahamas [1]
  • Ida Gilliss, aged 40, originally from Bracside, Ontario Canada, who arrived in New York in 1913 aboard the ship "Havana" from Nassau, Bahamas [2]
  • Walter Gilliss, aged 68, originally from New York, who arrived in New York in 1923 aboard the ship "Mauretania" from Cherbourg, France [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilliss (post 1700) +

  • Walter Gilliss, American author of "Recollections of the Gilliss Press and its Work during Fifty Years 1869-1919."
  • James Melville Gilliss (1811-1865), American astronomer, United States Navy officer and founder of the United States Naval Observatory, eponym of the USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4), a Robert D. Conrad-class oceanographic research ship and the USS James M. Gilliss (AMCU-13/YMS-262), a YMS-1-class minesweeper


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




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