Cuindlis Name Variants List


Mac, Mc, Mc, Ma’, and M’ were historically all interchangeable, with or without a space and with or without capitalization of the first letter of the surname proper. However, very few instances of a full Mac are recorded among the Cuindlis families for some reason, with Mc being the most common patronymic. Black (1946)3 considered the Mac spelling extinct for this name and its variants (though modern databases prove this to not quite be true24). In the examples below, all spellings have been normalized to Mc versions (when any Mac-based patronymic is used at all), except in the case of pre-anglicization Gaelic, and Irish O’-based versions, or where there is no evidence or likelihood of any kind of Mc/Mac usage.

Names Clearly Derived from Cuind[i]lis/Cuindleas

Candlish and Candless themselves may in rare cases possibly be derived from Candler and similar names, by confusion between the two. At least one case is known of a McAndrews lineage becoming McCandless. There has also occasionally been English–Scottish confusion between Cavendish and Cand[l]ish. The lesson being, just because the surname’s the same doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all related.

That said, the vast majority of Candlishes and Candlesses, and close variants of these names, are from Cuindlis (or some other spelling of the same Gaelic name).

Gaelic, Ancient to Medieval

Gaelic, or Goidelic, is the Celtic language subfamily native to Ireland, Scotland (since medieval times), and the Isle of Man which lies between them. The surviving Gaelic languages are Irish Gaelic (called simply Irish in Ireland), Scottish Gaelic (called simply Gaelic in Scotland), and Manx. They were at least somewhat mutually intelligible until the 18th century. In Irish and Scottish Gaelic, a c is always pronounced /k/, and an s is pronounced /ʃ/ (the sh sound in fish) before or after a short vowel (e or i).

Mac (literally ‘son of’ in Gaelic but also used to mean ‘descendant of’ or ‘from the clan of’) is an optional prefix for most of these names and was originally written typically lower-case and as a separate word, mac. This could be replaced by Ó (‘descendant of’, anglicized as O’), though this fell out of practice in Scotland. The Ó (originally Ua) names were mostly Irish (exclusively so by the Late Middle Ages), and have different female versions, which would begin with (‘daughter of’), and lenition on the initial consonant; e.g. Ó Cuindlis > Ní Chuindlis. The clan version would hypothetically be Uí Cuindlis ‘Descendants/Scions of Cuindlis’, but this form is unattested for these specific names in any period materials that have survived. Ó Cuindlis was used as a family name at least as early as the 14th century15. The Mac variants (which may be Scottish or Irish) could be rendered with Mhic (sometimes anglicized as Vic or abbreviated V’) to indicate a grandparental or earlier patronymic relationship, and could in the feminine have Nic or Nich (or in longer form, Nighean Mhic, sometimes in turn anglicized and shortented to Nein or Neyn or N’) rather than Mac, sometimes with lenition of C to Ch as noted above. Such Gaelic effects are not generally applied to anglicized names (see next section). For more on patronymic usage, see footnotes30.

According to Black3, a name like Candlish would have come into use as a surname after, and derived from, the MacCandlish patronymic form. The Gaelic patronymic, like the given name, dates back to Ireland and did not originally arise in Scotland, though in Ireland the Mac forms were eclipsed by Ó forms, except in Northern Ireland (it is not firmly proven that the Mac/Mc versions found there survived there the entire time, rather than being re-imported from Scotland).

This yields the following derivation pattern: Cuindlis given name > Mac or Ó Cuindlis patronymic > MacCandlish and O’Quinless (etc.) anglicized patronymics and family names > Candlish and Quinless (etc.) truncated anglicized surnames.

Known Gaelic Variants

  • Cuindles 19 (early)
  • Coinndles 19 (early)
  • Coinnindles 19 (early)
  • Mac Cuindilis 3, 11, 14
  • Mac Cuindlaes
  • Mac Cuindleas 3, 11, 14
  • Mac Cuindlis 3, 5, 11, 14
  • Mac Cuinlis
  • Ó Coinleisc 12, 14 (late)
  • Ó Coinlis 13 (late)
  • Ó Coinlisc 12, 14 (late)
  • Ó Cuindilis
  • Ó Cuindleas
  • Ó Cuindlis 12, 14
  • Ó Cuinnlis 13 (late)
  • Ó Cunlis 25 (late)

There may have been other versions such as *Cuinleas, *Cuindis, etc. (though they are not attested in any known surviving materials). Spelling of even words much less names did not begin to standardise in earnest until the late 18th century. The oldest known version is Cuindles, also appearing as Coinndles or Coinnindles, a given name dating to 8th-century Ireland.

Anglicized, Early Modern to Present

Mc is optional in all cases unless noted, and may appear as Mac, Ma’, or M’ in older records. A modern revival of the feminine Nic or Nc or N’ is making a small comeback (mostly in the Western hemisphere), but without lenition. E.g., one might encounter a name like NcCandless in modern social media. Native Irish names are also seeing a resurgence, and some people with anglicized names such as Conlisk or Quinlisk have returned to Ó Cuindlis today.23

Most of the variations in the table below have probably been extinct since at least the 19th century.

Anglicized name Likely Gaelic source Notes
Cuinlis Attested in N. Ireland17; normalized to a Mc spelling, this might be rendered McAnlish or McCanlish
Cuinlis Attested in N. Ireland17; normalized to a Mc spelling, this might be rendered McCunlish or McUnlish
McAndlass Cuindleas Attested in Tyrone (at the Derry/Londonderry border) in 1901 Irish census35.
McAndles Cuindleas 1, 2 Attested in N. Ireland17, including in Down in the 1901 Irish census35.
McAndless Cuindleas 1, 2, 12, 14, 21 Attested in Down, Derry/Londonderry, and Antrim in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
McAndlis Cuindleas 1, 2 Attested in N. Ireland17
McAndlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes Recorded 1684, Wigtownshire31; also attested on the island of Arran (administrative county of Argyll and Bute) in 1901 Scottish census34; and in Antrim in 1901 Irish census35.
McAndliss Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 27
McAndloss Cuindlis/Cuindlaes Attested in Antrim (bordering Down) in the 1901 Irish census35.
McAnlis Cuinlis Attested (rarely) in the Armagh–Down area, N. Ireland17; attested in Armagh in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
McAnliss Cuinlis 14
McCanalass Cuindilis > *Cuindileas Attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1849.
McCanalish Cuindilis
McCandaleishe Cuindilis Attested in Glasgow, 160828
McCandelich Cuindilis 1
McCandelish Cuindilis 1
McCandish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes > *Cuindis 2 Also Can[d]ycht-related10. Without Mc, usually Cavendish-derived, though some possibly from French Candice/Candace
McCandlash Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 1
McCandlas Cuindleas 1 Attested in N. Ireland17
McCandlass Cuindleas 1, 21 Attested in N. Ireland17; in Renfrewshire in 1901 Scottish census34; and in Port of New York immigration record, 1849.
McCandleis Cuindleas 1, 3 Recorded as Candleis 1684, Wigtownshire31.
McCandleish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 1, 21
McCandles Cuindleas 1 Attested in N. Ireland17, including in Down, Atrim, and Derry/Londonderry as well as Donegal, in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35. Also attested in Port of New York immigration records, 1848.
McCandlesh Cuindlis/Cuindlaes Attested in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, and Edinburgh in the 1901 Scottish census34. Attested (1 individual) as Candlesh without Mc in Ayrshire in 1901 Scottish census34.
McCandless Cuindleas 1, 2, 12, 14 Widely attested in Armagh, Down, Antrim, Derry/Londonderry, and Tyrone, as well as Donegal, plus small numbers in Roscommon, Wexford, Louth, Clare, and Leitrim, in 1901-1911 Irish censuses35. Attested (1 individual) without Mc in Donegal in 1901 Irish census35. Attested in Renfrewshire, Glasgow, and Edinburgh in in 1901 Scottish census34.
McCandlis Cuindleas 1, 12, 14 Attested in N. Ireland17, including in Antrim and Down (bordering Antrim) in 1901–1911 Irish censuses. Candlis without Mc attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1850.
McCandlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 1, 3 Recorded as both McCandlish and Candlish in 1684, Wigtownshire31. Attested comparatively commonly in Wigtownshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Ayrshire, and Renfrewshire, more sparsely in Stirlingshire, Western Callander (Perthshire), northern Lanarkshire, and southeast Argyllshire, with a few also in Perth and East Lothian, in 1901 Scottish census34. Attested in Antrim and Armagh in 1901 Irish census35. Attested as Candlish without Mc frequently in Ayrshire, Kircudbrightshire, and Dumfries-shire, less often in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Stirlingshire, Edinburgh and nearby Midlothian, Fifeshire, and Clackmannan, in 1901 Scottish census34. Attested twice without Mc, in Dublin and at the Kilkenny–Waterford border, in 1901 Irish census35; both were Anglican, so almost certainly British immigrants.
McCandliss Cuindleas 1, 21 Attested in N. Ireland17, including in Antrim (bordering Down) in 1901 Irish census35.
McCandloss Cuindleas 1
McCandls Cuindleas 4 Surely an error for McCandles[s]; attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1847.
McCanleis Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 3 Recorded as M’Canleis and Canleis, 1684, Wigtownshire31.
McCanles Cuindleas > *Cuinleas
McCanless Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Attested (single individual) in Kildare in 1901 Irish census35.
McCanlies Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Rare or non-existent without Mc; spelling may have arisen in the US.
McCanlis Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 12, 14, 21 Attested in N. Ireland17 Attested in Antrim in 1901 Irish census35.
McCanlish Cuindlis > Cuinlis Attested in N. Ireland17
McCanliss Cuindleas > *Cuinleas
McCanlos Cuindleas > *Cuinleas
McCaudless Cuindleas > *Cuidleas Attested in N. Ireland17; this may be a printing error for McCandless (u = n upside-down)
McCaundish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes > *Cuindis 2 Without Mc it is Cavendish-related
McCaundlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes Attested in Wigtownshire, 179329
McCaundysh Cuindlis/Cuindlaes > *Cuindis 2 Without Mc it is Cavendish-related
McCaunles Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Recorded 1684, Wigtownshire31. a McCaundles[s] variant is also likely.
McCaunless Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 27
Chandless Cuindleas 1 Attested in Edinburgh in 1901 Scottish census34. Rare with Mc, but actually attested that way (4 individuals) in Edinburgh in 1901 Scottish census34.
Chandlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 1, 3 Attested in Dumfries-shire in 1901 Scottish census34. Rare or non-existent with Mc.
Chandliss Cuindleas 27 Rare or non-existent with Mc.
Chanles Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Rare or non-existent with Mc.
McCilandich Cuindilis pron. with /k/ not /s/
McClandish, McClandlish, McClendlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes > *Cluindis, *Cluindlis 4, 20 McClendlish is attested in Wigtownshire in 1901 Scottish census34.
McClandless Cuindleas > *Cluindleas 4
McCoinlus Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas Attested in/around Glasgow in the 1901 Scottish census34.
McInless Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Attested (1 individual) in Dublin in 1901 Irish census35.
McKanless Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Rec. 1684, Wigtownshire and/or Kirkcudbrightshire; attested in Renfrewshire in 1910 Scottish census34.
McKenlis Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 2 Attested in N. Ireland17; also possibly McKinley-related
McKindleish Cuindlis Attested as Kindleish without Mc in Dunbartonshire in 1901 Scottish census34.
McKindless Cuindleas Attested (rarely) in Derry/Londonderry, N. Ireland17
McKinlas Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Attested (1 individual) in Derry/Londonderry in 1901 Irish census35; also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinlass Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 2 Attested in N. Ireland17; also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinles Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 2 Attested in N. Ireland17, including 1 individual at the Antrim–Down border in 1911 Irish census35; also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinless Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 2 Attested in N. Ireland17; attested in Derry/Londonderr and Antrim, and at the Antim–Down border, in 1901 Irish census35 also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinlis Cuindleas > *Cuinleas 2 Attested in N. Ireland17; also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinlish Cuinlis 2 Also possibly McKinley-related.
McKinliss Cuindleas > *Cuinleas Attested (1 individual) in Lanarkshire in 1901 Scottish census34; also possibly McKinley-related.

Exclusively Irish Forms

May (rarely) appear preceded by O’, as in O’Quinlish. Historically, Mac or Mc forms would have occurred, but appear to now be extinct spellings. “Exclusively Irish” here means “not historically found in Scotland”; the names do of course occur among the world-wide Irish diaspora.

Anglicized name Likely Gaelic source Notes
Conles Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas 18 Attested in Dublin in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
Conless Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas 18
Conlis Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas 18
Conlice Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas Attested (1 individual) in Armagh in 1901 Irish census35.
Conlish Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinlis 18 Attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1850; attested in Galway (bordering Mayo) in 1911 Irish census35.
Conlisk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 18 Attested in Galway (bordering Mayo) and in Roscommon (bordering Sligo) in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35. A single Conlisk was counted in the 1901 Scottish census, in Glasgow34 (probably an immigrant Irish worker).
Conliske Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 14 Probably others too, like Caunliske, Caunless, etc.
Conliss Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas 18 Attested in small numbers in Fermanagh and in Waterford (bordering Tipperary and Kilkenny) in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
Conloss Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas A single Conloss was counted in the 1901 Scottish census, in Glasgow34 (probably an immigrant Irish worker).
Counliss Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Coinleas A single Counliss was counted in the 1901 Scottish census, in Banffshire34 (probably an immigrant Irish worker).
Coynliske Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 14 Probably others, too, like Coinlish, Coinlisk, etc.
Cundlish Cuindlis/Cuindlaes 12, 14
Cunlick Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 21 Attested (1 individual) in Sligo in 1901 Irish census35.
Cunlis Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes 26
Cunlish Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes 12, 14, 18
Cunlisk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 12, 14, 18 Attested in Galway (bordering Mayo) and in Roscommon and Sligo in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35. Five Cunlisks were counted in the 1901 Scottish census, in Glasgow34 (probably an immigrant Irish worker and family). There are or were probably other similar variants too, like Cunless, etc.
Quinlass Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc Attested in Dublin in 1901 Irish census35.
Queenlisk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc Attested (1 individual) in Tipperary in 1901 Irish census35.
Quenlisk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc Attested in Tipperary and Offaly in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
Quinles Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Cuinleas
Quinlesk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc Attested (1 individual) in Tipperary in 1901 Irish census35.
Quinless Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Cuinleas 18 Attested in Dublin in 1901 Irish census35.
Quinlis Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Cuinleas
Quinlish Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes 12, 14, 18, 21 Attested in Port of New York immigration records, 1848; attested in Tipperary in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
Quinlisk Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc 12, 14, 18, 21 Attested in Port of New York immigration records, 1848; attested in Tipperary (comparatively frequently), Galway, Offaly, and Dublin in 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
Quinlist Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > Coinleisc/Coinlisc
Quinlos Cuinlis/*Cuinlaes > *Cuinleas

Assimilated, Merged, Converged, Possibly Related, and Similar but Unrelated Names

The majority of people with the names below may not be related to Cuindlis if any of them are at all. It is possible that some few people of Cuindlis descent have borne or still bear any of the following similar, but in many cases differently-derived, names. Such names could have been arrived at by Cuindlises through various means, that would range from ignorant immigration officials mangling the spelling, through assimilation of a similar but more common local name, to a shift in pronunciation and/or spelling to avoid political or other troubles.

Some of these names probably are derived directly from Cuindlis but also and more often derived from other sources. These are examples of merging or convergence. Candles is a good example – it obviously derives from Cuindlis > Candless > Candles, but also equally obviously derives from C[h]andler > Candle > Candles.

There are also names in this section for which the present author has no idea of derivation, but which might, or might very well not, be related in any way, but seem to be “likely suspects”. And lastly there are few (e.g. Quinlak) that look suspiciously like typos for more common spellings, but which could represent genuine variants, or even entirely unrelated names.

Some may appear with Mc/Mac, most do not (many are not Scottish at all) except where noted.

  • Cairdlish ← Probably unrelated; attested in Renfrewshire in 1901 Scottish census34.
  • Candeias 6 ← Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Candel 6
  • Candela, Candelas 6 ← Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Candeland, Candelane, Candelaine 6
  • Candelat 6 ← French.
  • Candeler 6
  • Candeles 6 ← Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Candeley 6 ← French.
  • Candelin 6 ← Mostly Swedish (from Finnish Kandolin), but some French.
  • Candelora, Candelori, Candeloro 6 ← Italian.
  • Candell 6
  • Candeller 6
  • Candels 6
  • Candes
  • Candess
  • Candiales 6 ← Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Candich 10 ← Usually a version of occupational name Candych but in one case from Norman name Candois16.
  • Candillian, Candillion ← A sept of Douglas.
  • Candis ← Probably mostly from French Candice/Candace.
  • Candish, Candishe ← Derived from Cavendish.
  • Candith 10
  • Candlan, Candland 6
  • Candle 6
  • Candlen 6
  • Candler 6
  • Candles 6
  • Candley 6
  • Candlin 6
  • Candych 10
  • Candysh, Candyshe ← Derived from Cavendish.
  • Candyth 10
  • Canglish, Kanglish ← Probably unrelated Irish name (probably from MacEnglish, i.e. son/descendant of an Englishman); attested as Kanglish in Dublin in 1911 Irish census35.
  • Canlas ← Filipino
  • Canle, CanleyCanli, Canly 8
  • Cannel, Cannell
  • Cantis ← English name from (and probably etymologically related to) Canterbury.
  • Carlish ← Unrelated Irish name.
  • Caundis, Caundish, Caundishe, Caundyshe, Caundysch22 ← Derived from Cavendish.
  • Chandel 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandeler 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandell 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandeller 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandels 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandle 6 ← rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandler 6 ← Rare or non-existent with Mc.
  • Chandles 6 ← Rare or non-existent with Mc; attested (1 individual) in Offaly in 1901 Irish census35.
  • Conylesh ← English name recorded in Lacashire, 1780.33
  • Cramlish, Cremlish, Crimlish, Cromlish, Crumlish, Crumblish ← Unrelated Irish name.
  • Cunliffe, Cundliffe, Conliff[e], etc. ← Unrelated to Cunlish, Conliss, etc.; instead derives from an English placename in Lancashire.
  • Kandel, Kandell, Kandelbinder, Kandler/Kaendler 6 ← German.
  • Kanlay, Kanley, Kanly 8
  • Kendis, Kentis, Kentish ← English, meaning ‘from Kent’.
  • Kindich, Kindisch ← German.
  • McAinish, McAinsh 7
  • McAndie, McAndy ← Probably variants of MacAndrews.
  • McAndle 6
  • McAndler 6
  • McAndley, McAndly ← Probably variants of McCandley or MacAndrews; attested in Monaghan in 1911 Irish census35.
  • McAndreis ← A variant of MacAndrews.
  • McAndress ← A variant of MacAndrews, though could conceivably derive from McAndless in a few cases; attested in N. Ireland17.
  • McAnish 7 ← See also McCanish.
  • McAnliff, McAnliffe ← Probably from McCauliff[e] or Cunliffe; attested in Edinburgh in 1901 Scottish census34 and found in southern Ireland in 1901 Irish census35, away from Cuindlis-derived names.
  • McAnsh 7
  • McAulis ← Attested in N. Ireland17; probably from McCauliff[e] or McCawley/McCauley.
  • McCainish, McCainsh 7
  • McCamish ← Variant of MacHamish and sometimes of MacTavish.
  • McCamsish 4 ← Probably census typo for McCamish but possibly for McCandish.
  • McCand, McCande ← Probably a variant of MacCann.
  • McCandie, McCandy ← Probably variants of MacAndrew[s].
  • McCanders ← Probably a McAndrews variant, unless a Candler one.
  • McCandla 6
  • McCandle 6 ← Attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1847; attested (1 individual) in Armagh in the 1911 Irish census35.
  • McCandler, McCandlers 6 ← Attested (both spellings) in Antrim in the 1911 Irish census35.
  • McCandley, McCandly 9
  • McCandycht or McIncandycht ← Unrelated occupational name10.
  • McCanich ← also Caninch/Cananich/Cananach; A sept of MacPherson.
  • McCanis 7
  • McCanish 7 ← A sept of Clan Atholl; not of any known relationship to McCandlish.
  • McCaniss 7 ← Variant of McCanis.
  • McCanlay 8
  • McCanle 6 ← Could derive from Candle or from a name like Connonly.
  • McCanley 8
  • McCanlick ← Conceivably a variant of or typo for McCanlish/McCanliss.
  • McCanliff, McCanliffe ← Probably from McCauliff[e] or Cunliffe, and found in southern Ireland in 1901 Irish census35, away from Cuindlis-derived names.
  • McCanly 8
  • McCannel 6
  • McCannell 6
  • McCansh 7
  • McCanys 7 Variant of McCanis.
  • McAudlesh ← Probably from McCaundlish, but conceivably of separate derivation. Attested in Stirlingshire in the 1901 Scottish census34. However, this may just be a printing error for McAndlesh (a u is an upside down n).
  • McCavis, McCavish ← Variants of McTavish in both Ireland5 and Scotland32.
  • McChandyt ← Unrelated occupational name10.
  • McCombish ← Highly unlikely to be related.
  • McCrandal, McCrandell, McCrandle, McCrandles, McGrandle, McGrandles, McGrandlis, McGrindle, etc. ← Unrelated, from Randal[l]; attested in various forms in 1901 Scottish census34 and 1901–1911 Irish censuses35.
  • McGrenless, McGreenless ← Conceivably derived from McCandless, etc., but probably unrelated (variant of McCrandle/McGrandles?); attested as McGrenless in Armagh in 1911 Irish census35; and as McGreenless in Kintyre (administrative county of Argyll and Bute) in 1901 Scottish census34.
  • McIndles ← conceivably a variant of McCandles but much more likely another spelling of McIndol; both are attested in small numbers (in East Lothian and Lanarkshire, respectively) in the 1901 Scottish census34; or perhaps of McKindle.
  • McKamish, McKamis ← Variant of MacHamish and/or MacAmos.
  • McKanis 7 ← Variant of McCanis.
  • McKanlay 8
  • McKanley 8
  • McKanly 8
  • McKennish 7
  • McKindle ← Likely unrelated; probably a variant of Kendall; attested in Roxburghshire in 1901 Scottish census34.
  • McRinles[s], McRinlis[s] ← Almost certainly unrelated; attested as McRinles at the Atrim–Down border in 1911 Irish census35; and as McRinlis in Midlothian in the 1901 Scottish census34.
  • Scanlass ← Possibly derived from Canlass but probably unrelated (more likely related to Scanlan, etc.); attested in Edinburgh in 1901 Scottish census34.

Presumably Irish-only

  • Conlishan ← Possibly derived from Conlish but probably unrelated.
  • Cornlish ← Possibly derived from Conlish but possibly unrelated (e.g. from Cornelius or Cornish); A single Cornlish was counted in the 1901 Scottish census, in Glasgow34 (possibly an immigrant Irish worker).
  • Quindish ← Possibly from Cuindlis after dropping of the l (as in McCandish), but likely unrelated; attested in Port of New York immigration record, 1850.
  • Quinlak 4 ← Probably from Quinlisk, but conceivably of separate derivation.
  • Quinlick ← Probably from Quinlisk, but conceivably of separate derivation; attested (1 individual) in 1911 Irish census35.



[Image: Excerpt from Woulfe showing an r-like letter s]
Excerpt from Woulfe, showing something
easily misread as “Cuindilir” and “Cuindlir”

It has been alleged in amateur genealogy circles that Cuindlir was also an ancient Gaelic name, possibly simply a variant of Cuindlis. If this is the case, any number of Candler/Chandler names could conceivably be derived from Cuindlir rather than the candle-making occupation. To date, no reliable sources have been found for Cuindlir.

It is most probable that “Cuindlir” is simply a misreading of Woulfe (1922)12, in which Gaelic names are given in Gaelic print, and anglicized names in a more familiar typeface. The Gaelic letterform of a lower-case s looks quite similar to a lower-case r in both Gaelic and English.

The Cavendish Confusion

Evidence from a couple of English sources indicates that, at least from the early 19th to early 20th centuries, Scottish [Mc]Cand[l]ish and English Ca[ve]ndish (of Suffolk, later of Devonshire and Cheshire, and prominent since the early 16th century) were confused – at least in the minds of the writers of the materials in question. See the “Cavendish Confusion” section at the “Heraldry” page for details.

Cavendish definitely has a different (Anglo-Saxon) derivation from McCandlish (Gaelic). The name Caundish[e] (remember that u and v were largely interchangeable in writing for a very long time), and later Candish[e], appear in English records as offshoots of Cavendish, while in Scotland we see the name Candlish coincidentally shortened (albeit rarely) to the same Candish. One has to wonder whether a handful of Cavendishes were originally Candlishes, and vice versa, e.g. because a family moved and changed their name to something more locally familiar. There is simply no way to sort this out in the 21st century with what little remains of pre-modern records.

Fortunately, the confusion between the two groups of names appears to have been confined to a pair of heraldry publications of the 19th century and did not spread further.

Interestingly, Cavendish ultimately comes from Anglo-Saxon (Old English) roots meaning ‘bold/daring’ + ‘enclosed pasture’11, which is strangely similar to the tentative translation of Cuindlis as ‘head of the enclosure’. This is surely coincidental, though it could potentially have something to do with their confusion.

Hanks & Hodges (1989) firmly consider Candish a contraction of Cavendish11 (and heraldic sources strongly agree), though this does not at all rule out McCandlish > McCandish > Candish derivation in some cases, because McCandish is an attested name, but *McCavendish is not (and logically wouldn’t be), so the former is obviously unlikely to derive from the hypothetical latter.

See also the footnotes for further derivation of Candith and similar names from the occupational name Canycht, unrelated to either Cuindlis or Cavendish. To complicate matters further, McCavish is not related to either Cavendish or McCandlish, but MacTavish.

Again, one should not presume a genetic/familial linkage for certain simply because of surname similarities. An anecdotal further example: At the close of one of the incessant continental wars in Europe’s post-medieval history, a number of Scottish soldiers ended up remaining in Spain, either preferring the climate or lacking the funds to return home. Among them were a number of MacDonalds, and they decided to settle there. Within that first generation, and ever since, they were known by the pre-existing Spanish name Maldonado, the closest the locals were inclined to get to pronouncing MacDonald. Today, any given Maldonado may be of part-Scottish descent and no relation to the original Spanish Maldonados, and there’s no way to tell other than serious genealogical research.

Grimes of West Mayo

Grimes is a surname occuring throughout the British Isles and having multiple unrelated etymological origins. In the case of the west County Mayo family of this name, they are known to have originally been Ó Coinleisc.12, 14

It is unclear why the family adopted an etymologically unrelated name, but in the centuries before the modern era of “official ID”, Irish families often had multiple names, such as a patronymic Mac name, a broader descent-related Ó name, and sometimes one or more other names commemorating a place (e.g. a named estate), an occupation, an event, etc. Grimes for Ó Coinleisc likely came about that way.

Ó Cuind

Another name already in use as a family name by the 13th century is Ó Cuind15, which would probably anglicize to O’Quinn (though that, the most common surname in Co. Tyrone, is usually the anglicization of Ó Cuinn from the personal name Conn)5. Ó Cuind seems clearly related, etymologically, to Ó Cuindlis (in the same way that Hunt and Hunting are to Huntingdon). But there is no evidence of a familial connection between the Ó Cuind and Ó Cuindlis families (any more than people surnamed Hunt are closely related to those named Huntingdon).


*: A term preceded by “*” is linguistic markup for ‘a speculative reconstruction that is not attested in any surviving original source material’. In all of the cases above, the alterations most likely happened after anglicization, and these Gaelic reconstructions are thus highly speculative.

1: It is likely that most bearers of this name are from Cuindlis lines, but that others from different families have converged on this name, from Chandler, Candles and other candle-maker surnames.

2: It is likely that most bearers of this name are from Cuindlis lines, but that others from different families have converged on this name, from other surnames, noted at each entry.

3: Black, George F.; The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History; New York Public Library; 1946; pp. 131, 464. Black seems certain that Candlish, Chandlish, Candleis, Canleis, McAndlish, McCandlish, McCaunles, etc. were all essentially the same name, despite other possible derivations for some of them. He places them all in Wigtownshire and neighbouring Kirkcudbrightshire. He considers the Gaelic patronymic form to have originally been Irish, and specifically mentions the Gaelic variations [Mac] Cuindlis, Cuindilis, and Cuindleas. Hanks & Hodges (1989) agree with Black on these three variations.

4: Unknown if this really exists/existed, other than as a spelling error in a record.

5: MacLysaght, Edward; The Surnames of Ireland, 6th ed.; Dublin: Irish Academic Press; 1997 [1957]; pp. 35, 36, 41, 252. According to MacLysaght, the C forms like Cunlish appeared earlier, found in the province of Connacht (especially Galway, though he does not say so), and the Qu forms arose later, in North Tipperary (Munster province), which borders on Galway. He accounts for the spellings Conliss, Cunlish, Quinlish, and Quinlisk (all with or without O’), but not other variants such Conlisk or Quinlist that are well attested among the diaspora, e.g. in the United States, but perhaps not so common in Ireland itself. Unlike Black (1946), he only addresses the Gaelic form Mac Cuindlis and makes no mention of variants like Cuindilis or Cuindleas. For MacCandless he found six variants in Ulster, where it is “fairly numerous”, but only specifically listed MacAndles and MacCanliss. He uses the Mac spelling for all such names throughout his book (i.e., he is not really contradicting Black that this spelling is extinct among these families.)

6: The vast majority of people by these names are not related to the Cuindlis lines, but are descended from candlemakers (chandlers in the original, narrow sense of that word).

7: The vast majority of the McCainsh, McCansh, McAinish, etc., names are probably no relation at all to Cuindlis, though most are probably related to each other. Black (1947) quotes Macnish (1925) in tracing them to Neish/MacNish of Atholl, not to Candlish. Some instead trace to MacInnes or MacAngus.

8: The vast majority of the Candley, McCanley, McCannel, McKanly, etc., names are probably no relation at all to Cuindliss. Most of them are probably closer related to McKinley/McKinlay, McCann, Kinelly, Connolly, and other names with similar pronounciations

9: Could be of McKinley/MaKinlay, McCann, Kinelly, etc. derivation, or from candlemaker names.

10: Black (1946, pp. 132, 464) considers all of these to be variants of Canycht, from Gaelic Ceannaiche, an occupational name meaning ‘merchant’, dating to ca. 1500, and which was sometimes spelled Candych, Candyth, or Candith. As with Cavendish becoming confused with Ca[u]ndish, this calls into question whether many McCandish, McCandiss, etc. names are actually derived from Cuind[l]is.

11: Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia; A Dictionary of Surnames, 2nd ed.; Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press; 1989; pp. 100, 356.

12: Woulfe, Patrick; Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall – Irish Names and Surnames, Volume II; Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; 1922; pp. 68, 91, 93. Woulfe specifically lists Cundlish, Cunlish, Cunlisk, MacAndless, MacCandless, MacCandlis, MacCanlis (he normalizes all Mc spellings throughout his book to Mc), Mac Cuindilis, MacCuindlis, Ó Coinleisc, Ó Coinlisc, Ó Cuindlis, Quinlish, and Quinlisk. He also suggests that Ó Coinleisc was sometimes anglicized to the unrelated name Grimes.

13: Plummer, Charles; “Irish Litanies”; CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts; University College, Cork; 2010; Provides the Coinlis, Cuindlis, and Cuinnlis spellings.

14: “Irish Names and Surnames: Advanced Search”;; (retreived 31 December 2021). See entries for “Mac Cuindilis”, “Ó Cuindlis”, and “Ó Coinleisc”. Based on the 1923 edition of Woulfe. Coinleisc and its derivatives are thought to be confined to County Mayo, and the odd Grimes anglicisation seems to be unique to west Mayo.

15: Annála Connacht (Annals of Connacht); attributed to anonymous 15th–16th-century scribes of the Ó Duibhgeannáin; translated by A. Martin Freeman; School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; 1944. Online version edited by Pádraig Bambury and Ciara Hogan; CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts; University College, Cork; 2008; Records the following historical personages: Domnall Ó Cuindlis (d. 1342), Leth Cuind Chetchathaig (fl. 1255), Dub Themrach daughter of Ó Cuind (d. 1231), Diarmait Ó Cuind and Amlaib his son (d. 1255), Gilla Beraig Ó Cuind (d. 1260), Cairpre Ó Cuind chieftain of the Muinter Gillgain (d. 1362). Quite a few persons named Cuind or Ó Cuind are mentioned in original Old Irish manuscripts, as recorded and annotated here: “Search results: Cuind”, Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL), 2019, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy;, accessed 2022-05-13.

16: Berry, William; Encyclopædia Heraldica, or Complete Dictionary of Heraldry, Vol. II: Dictionary of Arms; London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper; 1828; p. 238.

17: Grenham, John (Eoin); “MacCandless births between 1864 and 1913”; Irish Ancestors; 2022;; accessed 2022-05-23. This is a self-published database, but from census and other data and by an arguably expert author, of the Irish Roots: Irish Genealogy and Heritage blog, at since 2016.

18: Grenham, John (Eoin); “Conlisk births between 1864 and 1913”; Irish Ancestors; 2022;; accessed 2022-05-23.

19: Duggan, Eugene; “Duggans of Galway – Their Ancient Origin”; Galway Roots, Vol. 5; 1998. (Citing the medieval manuscript Calendar of Oengus.) Reprinted 2006 at,, accessed 2022-05-23 via Internet Archive.

20: For an example of “McClandlish” observed in the wild, see: This is probably just an error, and the coat of arms and crest shown are very much in error, belonging to Cavendish not McCandlish or any name related to McCandlish.

21: Matheson, Robert E.; Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland; Dublin: HM Stationery Office; 1901; pp. 50, 58.

22: Cooke, Robert; Foster, Joseph; Two Tudor Books of Arms, Harleian Mss. Nos. 2169 & 6163; London: The De Walden Library; 1904; p. 84.

23. For an example of Ó Cuindlis observed in use by a living person, see: (accessed 2022-06-01).

24. There are a handful of MacCandlesses and MacCandlishes left, almost exclusively in Canada:, (accessed 2022-06-01).

25. This spelling has so far only been found in materials prepared by a heraldry products vendor, House of Names, which is not a reliable source: (accessed 2022-06-01).

26. Cheney, David M.; “Bishop Cornelius O’Cunlis, O.F.M. †”;; 2020; (accessed 2022-06-01).

27. The Most Distinguished Surname McCandlish; House of Names / Swyrich Corp.; 2022. This is a short dossier from a heraldic products vendor. Not a particularly reliable source but better than nothing.

28. Grant, Francis J.; The Commissariot Record of Glasgow: Register of Testaments, 1547–1800; Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1901; p. 144.

29. Grant, Francis J.; The Commissariot Record of Wigtown: Testaments, 1700–1800; Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1904; p. 14.

30. The commissariot records interestingly illustrate the declining usage of patronymics in 17th-century Scotland. The records for Glasgow and Edinburgh from the 16th century onward do not record patronymics (probably indicating that recordkeeping authorities in the cities were imposing surname usage, or recording patronymics as if surnames, since it is unlikely that all use of patronymics had entirely died out there yet). Highlands records from Inverness and Argyle, however, provide many examples that show the use of nein, neyn, neen, nic, or N’ for ‘daughter of’; mac or M’ for ‘son of’; and vic, vick, or V’ (from mhic) to indicate a grandparental or older relationship; plus some examples of mac or M’ being used for the latter (i.e., abandonment by some of the vic convention). Some examples:

  • Alexander Roy M’Hucheon M’Allane in Correbroch; 13 Nov. 1630.
  • Margaret neyn Ean vic Rorie, spouse to Angus M’Unochie, skinner, indweller in Inverness; 7 Dec. 1632.
  • Gradoch nic Comie, in Bolladern; 30 Aug. 1666.
  • Katherine nein Allan, in Leaald; 5 Sept. 1666.
  • John Dow M’Andrew vic William of Durris; 12 June 1667.
  • N’Donochie, Janet, spouse to John M’Dougall, in Kailaig, par. of Kilchrene; 24 Sept 1676.
  • Anna nein Ilespick V’Donald V’Ean, spouse to Neill M’Colduy V’Ilory, in Auchatey, in Killchoan; 17 Sept. 1686.

Grant, Francis J.; The Commissariot Record of Inverness: Register of Testaments, 1630–1800; Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1897; pp. 25–32.
Grant, Francis J.; The Commissariot Record of Argyle: Register of Testaments, 1674–1800; Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1902; pp. 37, 47–48.

31. Scot, William; Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684; Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1916; pp. 7–9, 23, 28–30, 45–46, 54–56, 63–70, 75–76, 88.

32. Lamont of Knockdow, Norman; An Inventory of Lamont Papers (1231–1897); Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society; 1914; pp. 469, 475

33. Edmondson, Joseph; A Complete Body of Heraldry, Vol. II; London: T. Spilsbury; 1780; at alphabetical entry (pages unnumbered).

34. Griffin, Barry; Scottish Surname Maps for the 1901 Census of Scotland, (accessed 2023-03-09).

35. Griffin, Barry; Irish Surname Maps for the 1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland, (accessed 2023-03-09).

Last modified 2023-05-09 by SMcCandlish.