The surname of Gale is one of the many anglicized forms of Mac Cathmhaoli of the Cenel Eoghain (the race name of the O'Gallaghers, O'Boyles and other families traditionally descended from Conall Gilban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages located in Tirconnell). Early records of the name mention Robert M'Kauele, 1370 Ireland. John Gale, 1583. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames: they came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed in the year 1000. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. Other records of the name mention Johanna del Gayle, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas le Galeis was documented in Yorkshire in the year of 1400.
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