GILFELLON families are connected with Clan MacNab. The name in Gaelic is Gille Fhaolain. Several individuals of the name appear in Scottish records in the 12th and 13th centuries. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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. In the last quarter of the 12th century Gillefali Kede witnessed a grant to the Abbey of Arbroath. Gillefalyn (without surname) held land in Lauderdale in 1213. Gilefan Mac Guostuf, witnessed a charter in the year 1217. Gilofan Kerd, a mariner in the service of Alexander de Argadia, was, with others, arrested at Bristol on suspicion of piracy in 1275. Gilofan (without surname) was park keeper at Cardross in 1329. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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