Glass History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the first families to use the name Glass lived in ancient Scotland in the kingdom of Dalriada. The name was then used as a nickname for a 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 Glass family

The surname Glass 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 Glass family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Glass 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 Glass History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Glass Spelling Variations

In various documents Glass has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. Glass, Glas, MacGilleglas, Glasse and others.

Early Notables of the Glass 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 Glass Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Glass family to Ireland

Some of the Glass 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.


United States Glass migration to the United States +

Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Glass family emigrate to North America:

Glass Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Duncan Glass who settled in Virginia in 1651 with his wife Mary
  • Dunkin Glass, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [6]
  • Robert Glass, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [6]
  • Joyce Glass, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [6]
Glass Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Glass, who settled in New England in 1709 with his wife, two sons and two daughters
  • Dark Glass, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [6]
  • Sophia Glass, aged 28, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • Friderich Glass, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • Martin Glass, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Glass Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isabella Glass, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [6]
  • Alex Glass, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [6]
  • Isaac Glass, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812 [6]
  • James, Glass Sr., aged 73, who landed in New York in 1812-1813 [6]
  • Samuel Glass, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Glass migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Glass Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Glass, who arrived in Quebec in 1784
Glass Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Henry Glass, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • Mrs. Jane Glass, aged 46 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Maria Somes" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle on 23rd September 1847 [7]
  • Mr. John Glass, aged 18 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Maria Somes" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle on September 20th, 1847 [7]

Australia Glass migration to Australia +

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

Glass Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Glass, British Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Charles Glass, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839 [9]
  • Miss Elizabeth Glass, (Bennie), Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • George Glass, aged 20, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"
  • Mary Glass, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Thomas Arbuthnot"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Glass 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:

Glass Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Glass, Scottish settler from Dunoon travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 27th April 1860 [11]
  • Miss Jane Glass, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1864 [11]
  • Archibald Glass, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • Jane Glass, aged 25, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Glass (post 1700) +

  • Philip Glass (b. 1937), Academy Award-nominated American composer
  • Joseph Sarsfield Glass (1874-1926), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Ronald Earle "Ron" Glass (1945-2016), American actor, best known for his role as Det. Ron Harris in the television sitcom Barney Miller (1975–1982)
  • Seamon Glass (1925-2016), American actor and author
  • Bradley McConnell Glass (1931-2015), American politician, Member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1971
  • Noah Glass, American software developer, co-founder of Twitter
  • Hermann Glass (1878-1961), American Olympic gold medalist for gymnastics at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Rear Admiral Henry Glass (1844-1908), American naval officer best remembered for his role in the bloodless capture of Guam in the Spanish-American War
  • Presley Thornton Glass (1824-1902), American politician, member of the United States House of Representatives
  • Julia Glass (b. 1956), American writer awarded the National Book Award in 2002
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leslie G V Glass (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. David Reuben Glass, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [13]


The Glass 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Glass +

  • 712 Glass: A Genealogist's Collection by Lucille Barco Coone.

  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.
  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. ^ 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. 30)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) GLENSWILLY 1839 (also called DAWSONS). Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Glenswilly.htm
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  13. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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