Gibson Surname Genealogy

Gilbert – from the Norman Gislebert
or Gillebert (meaning “bright
noble youth”) – came to England with William the Conqueror. It
was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book in its early form,
name became popular during the Middle Ages. The pet name was Gib.

The principal surnames from Gib were Gibbs and Gibson (both meaning
son of
Gib). The Gibson surname was more common in northern
England and in

Gibson Resources on

Gibson Ancestry

Scotland. The Gilbert
name first surfaced in Scotland in the 12th century as Gille Brigte
(Gilbert in French), the son of Fergus who had created the independent
kingdom of Galloway. Gilbert murdered his brother and feuded with
the then King of Scotland. The Gib and Gibson name later moved
and eastward to Midlothian and Fife.

The Gibsons of Durie in Fife date from the 14th
century. Lord
Thomas Gibson of Goldingstones
was the
forebear of this family in the 15th century, followed by seven
Lord George Gibsons.

This Gibson family was on both sides of the religious divide at the
time. Bishop William Gibson had been one of the leading Catholic
clergymen in Scotland prior to the Reformation. A later William
Gibson, son of one of the Georges, took up the cause in England, but
was martyred
for his faith at York in 1596. Other early Gibsons were followers
of John
Knox and played their part in the formation of the Presbyterian church
in Scotland.

Although this family was based in Fife, most Gibsons in Scotland were
to be found further west, in Lanarkshire (around Glasgow) and Ayrshire.

England. Gibsons in the
19th century in
England outnumbered those in Scotland by a factor of more than two to
one. The name was primarily although not solely a name of the
north of England.

Some Gibsons in northern England represented spillovers from
Scotland, such as the Gibsons who came to Yelland in Lancashire in the
1600’s. These Gibsons were later
to be found at Myerscough House in Lancashire and Barfield in
Cumberland. Other Gibsons
had been landowners on the
Cumbrian/Yorkshire border since 1454. This
family established themselves at Whelprigg near Kirkby Lonsdale in 1687
and built the present house
there in 1834.

Robert Gibson, yeoman, was recorded as living at Bampton
Grange near Penrith in Westmoreland in 1469. Local
history tells of a feud with the Baxter family of Bampton Hall
which lasted over a hundred years. Thomas
Gibson, born in this parish, was physician-general to the English army
author of The System of Anatomy,
published in 1682. His nephew Edmund was
made Bishop of London in 1723.

William Gibson
was an early
Quaker convert from Caton in Lancashire:

“William Gibson, who at the time of the Civil War
being a soldier at Carlisle, he and three others having heard that a
meeting was appointed in that city, they agreed to go thither and abuse
preacher. But Gibson, who came to scoff,
remained to pray and became a zealous minister. He resided in
Lancashire till
about 1670 when he removed to London.”

He became a well-known Quaker in London who
incurred both imprisonment and fines. He
was one of the first purchasers of land in Pennsylvania, but apparently
never went there.

East Anglia.
There were Gibsons from East Anglia. These included the Quaker
Gibsons who were to leave their mark on the town of Saffron Walden in
Essex in the 19th century. Francis Gibson, born there in 1763,
started the family brewing business. A later Gibson, George
was a generous benefactor to many local institutions and private
charities. He
the proprietor of the Saffron Walden and North Essex Bank that in 1896,
his death, joined with others to form Barclays Bank.

America. A large number of
Gibsons in America
, it would appear, originate from one manJohn
Gibson, a
descendant of the Scots Goldingstones Gibsons. He had left his family
home in Scotland in 1632 for a new life in America.
He and his family settled in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. However, their early days
were stressful as John’s daughter Rebecca was accused of witchcraft and
banished from the Puritan community. The
unpleasantness persisted and John, the elder Gibson son, eventually
relocated to
William Penn’s
more tolerant Pennsylvania in 1695.

line from Timothy Gibson, a younger son, did remain in Massachusetts. This line included the shipping merchant
Captain Gibson and the Boston merchant Charles Gibson and, in more
times, the Gibson Girl artist Charles Dana Gibson and, apparently, the
and Jeopardy player Hutton Gibson and
his movie star son Mel Gibson.

The Gibson lines in Pennsylvania continued as follows:

  • William Gibson was an early settler in Lancaster county,
    Pennsylvania. Later Gibsons of this line
    may have included Captain
    George Gibson of
    Gibson’s Lambs
    (although some say he was of Scots Irish origin)
    (although some say he was of mixed race origin), whose
    descendants made Lexington, Kentucky their home and oversaw from
    there large cotton and sugar plantations in the Mississippi valley.
  • other
    went on to become founding members
    of York, Pennsylvania,
    west of Lancaster, with two serving terms as the Mayor of York.
  • while
    William and Sally Gibson moved to
    Baltimore and then inherited the family tobacco plantation at Valley View in Loudoun county, Virginia on
    the death of his father Moses in 1798.
    this branch of
    the family descended many of the Gibsons in Virginia and the
    Carolinas. The
    plantation itself was burnt to the ground by Union troops in 1863.

Scots Irish.
Gibsons in America could
also be Scots Irish. George
Gibson, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1730 from Antrim, was a trader
tavern-owner in Lancaster. His son John,
also a trader, was a veteran of all the wars – from the French and
Indian War in the
1760’s to the War of 1812 against the British.
He earned a reputation as a frontier leader and, at the age of
was appointed the Secretary of the Indiana territory.
His grandson William was a General during the
Civil War and later a Republican politician in Ohio.

was a mid-19th century Scots Irish arrival, starting a whiskey
in 1856 on the Monongahela river
in western Pennsylvania. Son Henry grew
wealthy on the whiskey sales and built a European-style castle,
Maybrook, for
his family outside Philadelphia. Neither
Henry nor his wife was to live long there.
But their daughter May, after whom the castle was named, was its
mistress from 1897 until 1959 when she died.

origin for Gibsons from South
in Mississippi
in the early 1800’s was mooted at one time, that
they were
descendants of Huguenot refugees into the colony. Others
today see a mixed race origin.

Canada. The
Gibsons in Canada have been mainly of Scottish
or Irish origin.

There is a large white granite monument on Canada
Street in Fredericton, New Brunswick commemorating Alexander “Boss”
Gibson, the
son of Irish immigrants who had arrived in the province in 1818. The “Boss” grew into an exceptionally
tall and powerful man, a red-bearded giant of “very striking”
appearance and
“fine bearing,” an obituarist noted. He
started out poor in the lumber trade but through his industry was
largely responsible for turning nearby Marysville (named after his
wife) into a prosperous mill town.

of monument is Gibson House, built in 1851, the home of Scottish
David Gibson and his family. David, who
had arrived from Scotland in 1825, was the land surveyor who helped
early Toronto. Wanted by the
for participating in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, he was forced
to flee
to the United States where he and his family remained for eleven
He did
eventually receive a pardon and, on his return to York county, built
House which is now a public museum.

John Arthur Gibson was a native Canadian, the son of an Onondaga father and a
Seneca mother. In his youth he had been a
mighty lacrosse
player. But in 1881, at the age of
thirty one while playing the game, he lost his eyesight in an accident. He later became a spokesman and a preacher
for the Iroquois way of life. Son Simeon
continued his legacy, but drowned in 1943 while crossing the Grand
river in a
leaky rowboat. Chief John’s memoir The Iroquois Tradition finally appeared
in English in 1992.

Gibson Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Gibson Names

Lord Thomas Gibson was the 15th
century forebear of the Gibsons of Goldingstones in Fife.
Charles Dana Gibson
was an American
graphic artist, creator of the Gibson Girl.
Guy Gibson was leader of the
legendary RAF Dam Buster raid during World War Two.
Althea Gibson was an
accomplished African American tennis player of the 1950’s.
Bob Gibson was a great African
American baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960’s and
Mel Gibson is a Hollywood
actor, best known perhaps for his portrayal of William Wallace in Braveheart.

Select Gibsons Today

  • 66,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glasgow)
  • 65,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 44,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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