The English, French and Irish surname Giles is derived from a medieval personal name of which the original form was Latin Aegidius (from Greek aigidion ‘kid’, ‘young goat’). This was the name of a 7th-century Provençal hermit, whose cult popularized the name in a variety of more or less mutilated forms: Gidi and Gidy in southern France, Gil(l)i in the area of the Alpes-Maritimes, and Gil(l)e elsewhere. This last form was taken over to England by the Normans. Wwhen found in Ireland it was adopted as an anglicized equivalent of the Gaelic name Ó Glaisne, a County Louth name, based on glas ‘green’, ‘blue’, ‘gray’. One of the first settlers in the New World of the American Colonies was Jonathon Giles, who appears in the very first muster for Virginia in 1623. Today there are approximately 40,000 bearers of the surname Giles in the United States.
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