This is a late medieval surname of some considerable contradictions. The name spelling and localised origins suggest that it is job descriptive deriving from the Old French "Gleaner", a term for one who gathered the useful remnants of the harvest after the reaping had been carried out. However there is a body of opinion that the name derives from the French Huguenot "Geneste", the modern form being a dialectal transposition, of which history ives many examples. It is known that one Louis Genest fled from France around 1698 and fought with William of Orange at the Battle of The Boyne in 1690, subsequently obtaining land grants in Ireland.In 1764 it would seem that an "l" was added to create Gleneste and to camouflage the French origin. However, whilst this is true, the name as Gleneste had already existed in English recording from the pre Huguenot period and therefore the name is clearly medieval English in origin, although some modern name holders may derive from Louis Geneste. Name recordings include that of the Thomas, given as the son of Thomas Glenister, christened at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, London, on November 18th 1627, and who was probably grandson of the first nameholder below. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Glenister, which was dated July 4th 1604, marriage to Martha Allin, at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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