Most sources agree that today’s surname is of English or Scottish origin, although uncertain as to whether the name is merely habitational or perhaps derived from Old and Middle English. It’s possible that the Scottish version was habitational, named after a village, town or other locale – perhaps a place which no longer exists.
The English version is thought to have derived from a combination of the pre-seventh century Old English word “gan” and the Middle English word “lihtly” or possibly both of Middle English – “gon” for “to go” and “lihtly”. The second part of the word, “lihtly”, could also have originally derived from the Old English word “leohylic”. Either way, the word would have most likely designated someone light of foot like a messenger.
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