This is one of the most extraordinary surnames that we have ever been called upon to try to research. It is apparently only recorded in Northern Ireland and yet the official Irish books on surnames give no clue as to its origin, in fact they dont mention it at all! Furthermore the recordings are almost as rare as hens teeth, and as we have only been able to proof one example before the end of the 19th century, it has not given much in clues as to the origin. The name would appear to have once been an English compound such as Grantley, a surname and also the name of a village in North Yorkshire.Indeed within the gazetters of the United Kingdom this is the only surviving place name which bears any (spoken) resemblance to Granleese. Of course there may be other explanations for the name, but if so despite looking throughout Europe we have not found anything similar. The first recording would seem to be that of John Granleese, the son of William and Sarah Granleese, who was christened at Lisnakea, County Fermanagh, on December 2nd 1864.
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