The surname of GILLELAND was derived from the gaelic GILLEANNDRAIS and MAC GIOLLA AINDREIS (devotee of St Andrew). In Ireland this name is found almost exclusively in County Monaghan, it takes the form MacLandrish on Rathlin Island. In Scotland this was a favourite personal name formerly, now a surname. Early records of the name mention Gillendrias mac Matni was a witness to King David's protection or the clerics of Deer, in 1150. Gilandrias dapifer or steward to Thor filius Swani in the reign of David I. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, an influx of settlers arrived under the patronage of Elizabeth 1 of England, and colonized the country beyond the 'Pale', the area around Dublin that was the only part firmly under English control. At the same time , groups of Presbyterian settlers were encouraged to migrate from Scotland to Ulster, thus establishing the distinctively Scottish surnames of Ulster. During the long centuries of English domination, Irish surnames were crudely Anglicized either phonetically or by translation. In the 19th century, political repression and famine combined to force many Irish people to seek other countries in which to live. Large numbers emigrated to the United States, where strong emotional ties to Ireland are still preserved in many families, while others found themselves transported, willingly or otherwise, to Australia, often after having first tried to make a living in England. Irish surnames are now very widely dispersed, and are common in England as well as in Ireland, the United States and Australia. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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