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MacLese History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the MacLese family. The root of their name is the Gaelic words "gille Iose," which means "servant of Jesus."

Early Origins of the MacLese family

The surname MacLese was first found in Lothian, where a member of the family was a witness to the charter, by King David I, to the Abbey of Holyrood. In 1160, Vhtred Gilise inherited the estates in Lothian. It is also recorded that M. filius Gilise, who was a close confidant of King Malcolm IV of Scotland, was witness to a charter signed at the Abbey of Scone in 1164.

Early History of the MacLese family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLese research.
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1264, 1376, 1521, 1747, 1836, 1778 and 1793 are included under the topic Early MacLese History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLese Spelling Variations

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. MacLese has appeared in various documents spelled Gillies, Gillis, Gillie, Gilly, Gilles, Gillieson and many more.

Early Notables of the MacLese family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacLese Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacLese family to Ireland

Some of the MacLese family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacLese family to the New World and Oceana

Ancestors of many of the Dalriadan families who crossed the Atlantic still live along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Some Scottish settlers arrived in Canada during the American War of Independence as United Empire Loyalists, while others stayed south to fight for a new nation. The descendants of Scottish settlers in both countries began to rediscover their heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries through Clan societies and highland games. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name MacLese or a variant listed above: Annette Gillis landed in New York in 1662; Elin Gillis settled in Virginia in 1649; Sarah Gillis settled in New Jersey in 1773; Ann Gillies settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.

The MacLese 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: Touch not the cat bot a glove
Motto Translation: Touch not the cat without a glove

MacLese Family Crest Products

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