The name means 'servant of
Jesus' in Gaelic, and Uhtred, son of Gilise, held lands in Lothian in about 1160. People
of his name lived in Badenoch, and it is a common surname in the Hebrides.
R J Gillis for the following
"Gillis of Morar" is a district family of "Gillis" which seems to have
originated in Morar and spread throughout the Western Highlands and Islands
within Clan Donald. Gillis of Morar is distinct from the "Gillies" listed
by Clan MacPherson. I was previously unaware of any claim by Gillis to be a
separate Clan, and I am intrigued by the tartan.. In addition, "Gillis" is
the spelling which the Gaelic speaking highlanders brought out of Morar,
Moidart, Knoydart, Skye and the islands to Nova Scotia after 1745. The "Gillies"
spelling while now prevelant in Scotland reflects a non-Gaelic speaking
origin and in some instances was picked up from facors passenger
lists--English speaking factors for emmigration ships. Further, the name is
generic like Carpenter, Sawyer, Cooper, Miller and usually refers to a local
holy person or to the childen of married Catholic priests in the Columban
rite. Gillis of Morar reflects a family apparently evolved in the Tenth
Century from a mixture of Nothern Picts and Norse. The designation "Gillis"
of "Gilliosa" seems to have been adopted as a patronomic to distinguish
Christians from their pagan neighbors. This was also the case for
"Gilchrist" which evolved about the same time in northeastern Ireland.