Greenlaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Greenlaw is a habitational name taken on one of the places named Greenlees, in Lanarkshire. The place name comes from the Scots words "gre-ne" meaning "green," and "ley(s)," meaning a "a meadow." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Greenlaw family

The surname Greenlaw was first found in Berwickshire. [3]

"[Greenlaw, Berwickshire] is supposed to have derived its name from the situation of the ancient village on one of those conical eminences of which there are several in the parish, which eminence, from its superior verdure, obtained the appellation of the Green Law." [4]

"This is the name of an old family in Berwickshire, derived from their lands there. They may have been an offshoot from the Dunbars. William de Grenlawa, c. 1180. An agreement between the abbot of Kelso and Roland de Grenelawe regarding the chapel was made c. 1200. Magister William de Grenlau, a churchman, witnessed a charter by Walter, bishop of Glasgow, c. 1208-18, and in 1221 was one of a number appointed to settle a dispute between the churches of Glasgow and Kelso, and c. 1221-31 witnessed the grant of the church of Lympetlaw to Kelso Abbey. In 1233 he witnessed resignation of the lands of Eduluestun to the church of Glasgow. William of Greenlaw, son of Roland, son of William, witnessed Melrose documents of 1236-37, and held lands in Hawington of Robert de Muschamp, part of which he gave to Melrose Abbey before 1247, in which year he died." [5]

Early History of the Greenlaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenlaw research. Another 302 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1574, 1689, 1296, 1306, 1868, 1327, 1361, 1386, 1422, 1424, 1426, 1439, 1452, 1503, 1729, 1820, 1696, 1354 and 1421 are included under the topic Early Greenlaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenlaw Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Greenlees, Greenleaf, Greenleas, Greenles and others.

Early Notables of the Greenlaw family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Greenlaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenlaw Ranking

In the United States, the name Greenlaw is the 9,691st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]


United States Greenlaw migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenlaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Greenlaw, who landed in New England in 1753 [7]
Greenlaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ralph Greenlaw, aged 42, who landed in America from Derry, in 1893
Greenlaw Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • James Greenlaw, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from Chimside, Scotland, in 1907
  • David Greenlaw, aged 48, who landed in America from Auchendewey, Scotland, in 1910
  • Rowdon Greenlaw, aged 2, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Vera E. Greenlaw, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1913
  • Eugenie Greenlaw, aged 21, who immigrated to America from Barrow in Furness, England, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Greenlaw migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenlaw Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Greenlaw U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Penobscot Association [8]
  • Mr. Charles Greenlaw U.E. born in Castine, Maine, USA who settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick c. 1784 [8]
  • Mr. Ebenezer Greenlaw U.E. born in Castine, Maine, USA who settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick c. 1784 he ws part of the Penobscot Association [8]
  • Mr. Jonathan Greenlaw U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784 [8]
  • Mr. Jonathan Greenlaw U.E. born in Castine, Maine, USA who settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Penobscot Association [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Greenlaw Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • A. L. Greenlaw, aged 31, who immigrated to St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1918

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenlaw (post 1700) +

  • Linda Greenlaw (b. 1962), American best-selling author of books with maritime themes
  • R. D. Greenlaw, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 1936 [9]
  • Martha Greenlaw (b. 1944), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 2004 [9]
  • Edward G. Greenlaw, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Glasgow, 1922 [9]
  • Albert Greenlaw, American Republican politician, Mayor of Eastport, Maine, 1905-06 [9]
  • Jeff Carl Greenlaw (b. 1968), former Canadian ice hockey player
  • Lavinia Greenlaw (b. 1962), English poet and novelist
  • Alexander Greenlaw Hamilton (1852-1941), Irish-born, Australian naturalist and teacher, former president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales


The Greenlaw 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: Viresco
Motto Translation: I flourish.


  1. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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