Gildersleeve Coat of Arms / Gildersleeve Family Crest
This surname of GILDERSLEEVE is an English nickname for an ostentatious dresser, originally derived from the Middle English nickname GYLDENESLEVE 'golden-sleeve', composed of the elements GOLD (gold) + SLEF (sleeve). The earliest of the name on record appears to be Roger GYLDENSLEVE, who was recorded in County Norfolk in 1273, and John GILDENSLEVE, was a Fellow of the Holy Cross Atteburgh, County Norfolk in 1421. Surnames can be divided into four categories; place names, occupation names, nicknames and patronymics. PLACE NAMES are the largest group and covers all those names first applied to people who lived in or nearby to a particular place. For example, Grove, Wood, Field, Meadow, and Street are obvious. Occasionally names were taken from obscure villages or hamlets which no longer exist and this can make research confusing. OCCUPATION NAMES cover nearly all trades which existed in the Middle Ages. These are numerous. It does not necessarily follow that such names as King, Duke, Earl and so on mean your ancestors were of noble blood. It is much more likely that such named people worked for the person referred to. NICKNAMES. This is a smaller group but in many ways more interesting. They usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. For instance the name Black would denote a dark man, Little, someone small (or even somewhat ambiguously) someone tall. PATRONYMICS. This group covers all names which derive immediately from the owner's father. Many christian names which are also surnames have, over the years, lost the possessive form but the origin is still the same. Examples of this could be names such as Peter,Thomas, Henry - all names which became both christian and surnames over the years. A later instance of the name mentions John GILDENSLEVE, who was the rector of Little Cresingham, County Norfolk in the year 1588. In the form of GILDERSLEEVE this surname reach the United States at a very early date. The American Journal of Philology was edited 1880-84 by Basil L. GILDERSLEEVE, and the large number of GILDERSLEEVES in the New York Directory in 1903, seems to point to an early settlement in the new country.
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