McGleish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McGleish family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name McGleish is derived 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 McGleish family

The surname McGleish 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 McGleish family

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

McGleish Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McGleish has been spelled MacLeish, MacCleish, MacLise, MacLish, MacGillies, MacGleish, MacGillis, MacLeash and many more.

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

Migration of the McGleish family

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McGleish were among those contributors: Anne McLeish settled in Pennsylvania in 1833; George and Catherine McGillis settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.


Contemporary Notables of the name McGleish (post 1700) +

  • Scott McGleish (b. 1974), English footballer


  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)


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