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

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

The ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name Gilreath is a nickname for a young man with tanned skin or with tawny hair with darker streaks. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac 'Ille riabhaich, which means son of the brindled lad.

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Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Gilreath has appeared in various documents spelled Macilreach, McIlreach, MacIlreath, McIlreath, Macilriach, McIlriach, Macilraith, McIlraith, Macilaraith, McIlaraith, Macilarith, McIlarith, Macilwraith, McIlwraith, Macilwraithe, McIlwraithe, MacIlwrathe, McIlwrathe, MacKilwrath, McKilwrath, MacKilwrathe, McKilwrathe, Macgfillreich, McFillreich, Macileriach, McIleriach, Macillrich, McIllrich, Macilurick, McIlurick, Macilwrick, McIlwrick, MacIlwrith, McIlwrith, MacIlrevie, McIlrevie, MacKilreve, McKilreve, MacKilrea, McKilrea, MacElrath, McElrath, MacElreath, McElreath, McElvrick, MacElvrick, McIllrie, MacIllrie, MacAlwraith, McAlwraith, Revie, McRevie and many more.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilreath research. Another 431 words(31 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1376, 1476, 1508 and 1526 are included under the topic Early Gilreath History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gilreath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Gilreath family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 53 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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: John McIllreavy landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1846; Archibald McIllree landed there in 1832; William McIlrea landed in Philadelphia in 1834.

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  • Erin Gilreath (b. 1980), American hammer thrower
  • James Gilreath (1936-2003), American pop singer and songwriter
  • George Allen Gilreath (1834-1863), commanded the Confederate troops who had advanced the farthest during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg
  • Robert Gilreath (b. 1952), English professional footballer


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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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Gilreath Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gilreath 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 4 April 2015 at 20:04.

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