This interesting surname of Scottish origin is a locational name from Greenlees, translating as the green enclosure or similar, near Cambuslang, Lanarkshire. The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century (see below). Further recordings include one Robert Greynleis, son and heir of John Greynleis who was admitted burgess freeman of Glasgow in 1574 "Burgesses and Guild Brethren of Glasgow", and William Greenlies (1689) appears in the "Register of the Privy Council of Scotland". Parish records include one John Greenlees who was christened on February 17th 1690 in Edinburgh, William son of John and Hellen Greenlies who was christened on August 9th 1696 also in Edinburgh and Ann, daughter of William and Ann Greenlees who was christened on September 9th at St. Bartholomew the Great, London. One Dr. Robert Greenlees of Scotland was granted a Coat of Arms in 1750 consisting of a green fleur-de-lis between three red mullets within a red engrailed border on a silver shield. The crest being a sprig growing out of a mount proper. The motto; "Viresco" translates as "I flourish". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Greneleis, which was dated 1555, in the "Early Records of Scotland", during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Mary Queen of Scots", 1542 - 1567. 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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