This interesting name is of Irish and Scots origin and in Gaelic takes the form of 'Mac Giolla Iosa', and means 'son of the devotee of Jesus'. There is a prominent Sept in Derry who bear this name. The dialectual variants are many in both Ireland and Scotland and include Mac Lleese, MacLeese, MacLice, MacLise, MacLese, MacLeish. One well known name bearer is the painter Daniel MacLise, who was of a family from the Scots Highlands and later settled in Cork, Ireland. In its present form the name is very rare, the closest recording to this spelling is of one Emma Jane McAless, daughter of James McAlees and Elizabeth Porter was christened in Tradeston, Glasgow, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John M'Lese, which was dated, 1376 at Auchinbreck, Dumfriesshire, during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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