MacGillis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The many centuries old Dalriadan-Scottish name MacGillis comes from a devotion to Christianity. The Gaelic form of the name is M'A'Lios, which is a shortened form of Mac Giolla Iosa, meaning on of the servant of Jesus. [1] Cleish Castle is a 16th-century tower house in Kinross-shire, Scotland, west of the hamlet of Cleish.

Early Origins of the MacGillis family

The surname MacGillis was first found in Dumfriesshire where "Mychael M'Cleish or M'CIeisch was tenant of the Brewland cum le stallage' in Dumfriesshire in 1376." [2]

"Thomas M'Cleche was a voter in parish of Qwilton (Coylton), 1514, and Michaile M'Cleys, witness in Carrik, 1514. Duncan M'Cleish was servant to Dwgall M'Dugall in Deweldik, 1588, another Duncan M'Cleiche was admitted burgess of Glasgow, 1589, and a third Duncan M'Cleishe, burgess freeman in 1627." [2]

Early History of the MacGillis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGillis research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1638, 1580, 1665, 1686, 1745, 1806, 1870, 1797, 1803, 1806, 1811, 1872 and 1844 are included under the topic Early MacGillis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacGillis Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. MacGillis has been spelled MacLeish, MacCleish, MacLise, MacLish, MacGillies, MacGleish, MacGillis, MacLeash and many more.

Early Notables of the MacGillis family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Robert M'Gleish, burgess of Irvine, 1686; and John M'Cleish, burgess, 1745. [2] Daniel MacLise (1806-1870), historical painter, was the son of Alexander McLeish, McLish, McClisse, or McLise, a Scottish highlander, once a private soldier in the Elgin fencibles, but at the time of the artist's birth engaged in tanning or shoemaking at Cork, where his regiment had been quartered in 1797. On 24 Dec. in that year Alexander McLish married Rebecca Buchanan, 'daughter of Mrs. Buchanan, Almshouse,' as she is described in the register of the presbyterian (now unitarian) church, Princes Street, Cork, where...
Another 208 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGillis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacGillis family

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 MacGillis family emigrate to North America: Anne McLeish settled in Pennsylvania in 1833; George and Catherine McGillis settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.


Contemporary Notables of the name MacGillis (post 1700) +

  • Henry R. MacGillis, American Republican politician, Candidate for Circuit Judge in Michigan 23rd Circuit, 1916 [3]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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