Greenlee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Greenlee 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 Greenlee family

The surname Greenlee 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 Greenlee family

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

Greenlee Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Greenlee family (pre 1700)

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

Greenlee Ranking

In the United States, the name Greenlee is the 3,602nd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6]


United States Greenlee migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenlee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Greenlee, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [7]
  • J. R. Greenlee, aged 35, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1892
  • W. B. Greenlee, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Mrs. R. L. Greenlee, aged 45, who immigrated to America, in 1894
Greenlee Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Robert Greenlee, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Belfast, in 1905
  • Mary Greenlee, aged 41, who settled in America from Belfast, in 1906
  • Clara Greenlee, aged 3, who landed in America from Belfast, in 1906
  • John Greenlee, aged 38, who landed in America, in 1907
  • William Greenlee, aged 20, who landed in America from Armagh, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Greenlee migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenlee Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Helen Greenlee, aged 33, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1923
  • Nellie M. Greenlee, aged 34, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1923

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenlee (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Elder "Sam" Greenlee Jr. (1930-2014), American writer, best known for his novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door, chosen as The Sunday Times Book of the Year (1969)
  • William Augustus "Gus" Greenlee, American businessman
  • William K. Greenlee, American Democratic Councilman-at-Large on the City Council of Philadelphia
  • Bob Greenlee, American politician, Mayor of Boulder, Colorado from 1998 to 1999
  • David Greenlee (b. 1960), American voice actor
  • Kathy Greenlee, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 2004, 2008 [8]
  • David N. Greenlee (b. 1943), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, 2000- [8]
  • Cassius M. Greenlee, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1900 [8]
  • C. F. Greenlee, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1908 [8]
  • Bob Greenlee, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Colorado 2nd District, 1998 [8]
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Greenlee 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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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