Le Gallais

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Le Gallais family page
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Alice Le Gallais, c1872


Record Search


Direct links to lists of baptisms, marriages and burials for the Le Gallais family can be found under Family Records opposite. If you want to search for records for a spelling variant of Le Gallais, or for any other family name, just click below on the first letter of the family name you are interested in. This will open a new tab in your browser giving you a list of family names beginning with that letter, for which there are baptism records in our database of half a million church and public registry records.

You can also select marriages or burials. Select the name you want and when the list of records is displayed you can easily refine the search, choosing a single parish, given name(s) and/or start and end dates.

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Origin of Surname

The origins of this very common Jersey surname of long standing are strongly disputed. Jersey sources generally support the view that it means 'the Welshman' (Pays de Galles is the French for Wales), but sources in France, where the name is found in many areas, particularly in Brittany and Normandy, offer a variety of other derivations.

The most widely held belief, particularly in Brittany, is that the name is a a corruption of gaullois, 'Gaul' being the historic name for France, and that it was used to distinguish French speakers from Breton speakers in the far west of the country.

But there are other suggested derivations. Noms de familles de Normandie says that in Normandy, where Gallais is fairly common to this day, it comes from a Medieval personal name 'Galeis'.

Otherwise the French authority Dauzat supports the view that it refers to a welshman, Deshayes' Dictionnaire des noms de famille bretons believes it to be derived from 'Galès', a name given to a tall man. Another authority, Morlet, traces the origins to galois, meaning, in ancient French, a bon vivant (he who enjoyed the good things in life).

Then there is the question of which names are true variants of Le Gallais. In Jersey one of the most common early spellings of what was undoubtedly the same family was Le Gallez, and Galet has been viewed as a variant. However, Noms de familles de Normandie treats 'Gallet' and 'Galet' as entirely separate, with a meaning derived from old words for a stranger. However, other French sources lump 'Gallet', 'Galet' and 'Gallez' into the same set of variants.

The name is found as Gallais rather than Le Gallais in Normandy, but in Brittany the names 'Le Gall' and 'Le Gal' are common and they are said to refer to a French speaker among the Bretons.

Charles Stevens' Comprehensive list of Jersey surnames, apart from supporting the Welsh theory, separates 'Le Gal', 'Le Gall' and 'Le Galle' from other variants.

For what it is worth, given the absence of any evidence that there was immigration, direct or indirect, from Wales to Jersey as early as the 15th century, we think the name is far more likely to have Gaul as its source.

All that seems certain is that the similar sounding Gallie is definitely a different family with a different derivation.

Early records

It will be seen from the list of variants below that the spelling in use in Jersey today - 'Le Gallais' - can only be traced back to the early 17th century, but other variants go back much further, 'de Galeis' being found in a 1226 record.

The family appears in the Assize Roll of 1309. Charles Le Gallais is listed in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550.

Although the family is particularly well-known in the 19th century and later in St Brelade, where Jurat Philippe Le Gallais owned La Moye House, the majority of them are to be found from 1597 onwards in the baptism records of St Helier (403 of 575 total baptisms.

Variants

  • Gallais, found in Normandy
  • Le Gallais, 1607
  • Le Gallez, 1490
  • Le Gallet, possibly separate
  • Le Galet, possibly separate
  • Le Galays
  • Galles 1515
  • Le Galles l479
  • Galays
  • Galeys 1255
  • de Galeis 1226
  • Gallie (probably not a variant - see family page for derivation
Memorial in the Town Church to Lt-Col Philip Le Gallais, who died in the Boer War

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

This family, which is supposed to have migrated hither from Brittany, has been naturalized in the island from a very remote period. It is divided into several branches, which, although the connection between them is not precisely ascertained, are universally allowed to derive from one common source.

One of these is represented by Matthew Le Gallais, Seigneur of Surville. Another, now settled at La Moye, in the parish of St Brelade, formerly possessed an estate at Rouge Bouillon, in the parish of St Helier; an estate which, as stated by the two Extentes, or Royal Rent Rolls of the 17th century, owed to the Crown the somewhat fanciful dues of two cabots of wheat rent, two capons, two hens, and fourteen eggs. This branch is represented by Philip Le Gallais, Jurat of the Royal Court, and Stipendiary Magistrate of the Police Court.

A third is represented by Mr John Le Gallais, son of Nicholas Le Gallais, who, through his mother, Elizabeth, daughter and eventual heiress of Thomas de Gruchy, of Trinity, represents also a branch of that family.

Arms

As borne by Matthew Le Gallais: Gules, a crescent, between six roses, or, three in chief and three in base.

Quartering : Argent, three trefoils, sable, for Payn

Gules, four fusils, conjoined, in fesso, argent ; a crescent, in base, for difference, for De Carteret

Jean Le Gallais and his family photographed by Ernest Baudoux outside La Ferriere, St Saviour

Per fesse, argent and or; in chief, a dexter hand, clenched, ppr, cuffed of the second; in base, a mullet of the first, for Poingdestre

Impaling : Azure, three crescents, or, for Nicolle.

Crest : A cock, statant, ppr., the dexter foot uplifted.

Motto : Jamais chancelant.

As borne by Philip Le Gallais: Same Arms, Crest, and Motto. Impaling or, on a chief, embattled, sable, three mullets, argent, a crescent for difference, for Amy.

As borne by John Le Gallais: Same Arms and Crest. Quartering: Or, fretty azure, for De Gruchy. Motto : Semper Fidelis

Family records

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Family trees



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Church records

Tips for using these links



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Le Gallais biographies and other family matters




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Newspaper records


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Great War service



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Family wills


Family homes

Family businesses

Family album

Family gravestones

Click on any image to see a larger version. See the Jerripedia gravestone image collection page for more information about our gravestone photographs

Tips

The church record links above will open in a new tab in your browser and generate the most up-to-date list of each set of records from our database. These lists replace earlier Family page baptism lists, which were not regularly updated. They have the added advantage that they produce a chronological listing for the family name in all parishes, so you do not have to search through A-Z indexes, parish by parish.

We have included some important spelling variants on some family pages, but it may be worth searching for records for a different spelling variant. Think of searching for variants with or without a prefix, such as Le or De. To search for further variants, or for any other family name, just click on the appropriate link below for the first letter of the family name, and a new tab will open, giving you the option to choose baptism, marriage or burial records. You will then see a list of available names for that type of record and you can select any name from that list. That will display all records of the chosen type for that family name, and you can narrow the search by adding a given name, selecting a parish or setting start and end dates in the form you will see above. You can also change the family name, or search for a partial name if you are not certain of the spelling

The records are displayed 30 to a page, but by selecting the yellow Wiki Table option at the top left of the page you can open a full, scrollable list. This list will either be displayed in a new tab or a pop-up window. You may have to edit the settings of your browser to allow pop-up windows for www.jerripediabmd.net. For the small number of family names for which a search generates more than 1,500 records you will have to refine your search (perhaps using start or end dates) to reduce the number of records found.

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