Short form of Eugene, now used as a boy's given name in its own right, especially in North America. It has been made familiar by film actors such as Gene Autry, Gene Hackman, Gene Kelly, and Gene Wilder. It is also occasionally used as a girl's name, in which case it represents a respelling of Jean.
English: habitational name from Kirkley in Northumberland, found in early records as Crekellawe. The element Crekel is from Celtic crūg ‘hill’ + Old English hyll ‘hill’, to which the tautologous addition (Old English hlā ‘hill’, ‘mound’) was later made. There is also a Kirkley in Suffolk, named from Old Norse kirkja ‘church’ + Old English lēah ‘woodland clearing’, which may also have contributed to the surname.