What is the origin of the last name Gillis?

The last name Gillis has its origins in Scotland, specifically from the Gaelic name Mac Gille Íosa, meaning "son of the servant of Jesus." Initially associated with the Highlands and islands of Scotland, the surname Gillis can be traced back to the 12th century. Over time, variations of the name, such as Gillies or MacGillivray, emerged as different branches of the same clan.

Countries of origin for the last name Gillis

The last name *GILLIS* is a well-known surname that has a long history and diverse origins. Derived from the ancient Gaelic name Mac Gille Iosa, which means “son of the servant of Jesus,” it has deep roots in Scotland and Ireland. The name is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Gille Aodha, which means “son of the servant of St. Aodh.” Throughout history, the spelling and pronunciation of the name have evolved, resulting in variations such as Gillies, Gillis, and Ghillis.

The surname GILLIS has multiple possible origins, making it a fascinating subject for genealogical and etymological research. One prominent origin is the Scottish Highlands, particularly the region of Argyll and the islands of Mull and Islay. Here, the name is connected to the influential clan Maclean, with many individuals bearing the name serving as warriors and chiefs. The prominent Maclean septs of Gillies and Macgillies also utilize variations of the name.

Another possible origin of the GILLIS surname is the Irish province of Ulster. It is believed that individuals carrying the name migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the Medieval period. In Ulster, the GILLIS name became associated with the MacGillivray clan, who were found mainly in County Donegal. Interestingly, variations of the name, such as Gillease and Gilisdha, can also be found in the Isle of Man.

As with many surnames, the GILLIS name has spread to various parts of the world through migration and settlement. In the United States, the name is relatively common, with pockets of concentration in states such as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Illinois. Many individuals of Scottish and Irish descent brought the GILLIS surname with them when immigrating to America, contributing to its prevalence in certain regions.

Although the GILLIS name has a rich history and various origins, much remains unknown about specific individuals who carry the name throughout the centuries. Genealogy and historical research can help uncover the stories behind individual GILLIS family lines, their journeys, and their contributions to various communities.

Overall, the last name GILLIS is a captivating surname that originates from Gaelic roots and has connections to Scottish and Irish clans. Its presence can be found in different parts of the world, including the United States. Despite the vast amount of information available about this surname, there are still many possibilities and unanswered questions, making it an intriguing subject for further exploration.

Interesting facts about the last name Gillis

  • The surname Gillis is of Scottish origin.
  • It is derived from the given name Gillies, a Gaelic form of the name Aegidius.
  • Gillis is a patronymic surname, meaning it is formed by adding the suffix “-s” to the name Gillie, meaning “servant of Gillie.”
  • Gillis is among the most common surnames in Scotland, particularly in the regions of Argyll, the Western Isles, and Galloway.
  • The name Gillis has variations in spelling, including Gillies, Gilles, and Gilyes.
  • Many individuals with the surname Gillis have emigrated from Scotland to other parts of the world, including Ireland, Canada, the United States, and Australia.
  • The name Gillis has multiple possible meanings, including “servant of Jesus” or “servant of the church.”
  • Notable individuals with the surname Gillis include musicians, such as American guitarist and songwriter John Gillis, better known as Jack White.
  • The surname Gillis has been documented as early as the 14th century in Scotland.
  • Over time, some Gillis families may have anglicized their surname to the similar-sounding name “Gillespie.”

Name Rank


There are around 18834 people with the last name Gillis in the US

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