This surname, numerous in the Isle of Man, is the Manx form of McLeish, a name of Scottish origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the Gaelic personal name 'Gilla Iosa', meaning 'servant of Jesus', in Scots Gaelic 'Mac (son of) Gille Iosa'. The old forms of the personal name are recorded as M'Coleis and M'Lushe, and by 1542 a 'Makleis'. In 1613 one Malleis Mc Colleis in North Perthshire was fined for concealing stolen goods belonging to the Clan Gregor (Register of the Privy Council of Scotland), and one Duncan M'Coleis was one of the laird of Glenurquart's vassals in 1638 (The Black Book of Taymouth).Amongst the sample recordings in the Isle of Man, is the christening of Ann Quillease on February 6th 1673 at Maughold, and of Isabell Quilleash on March 20th 1739, also at Maughold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mychael M'Cleish, which was dated 1376, Recorded as tenant in Dumfriesshire, Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morton, during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. 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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