Gore Surname Genealogy

place-name Gore, found at an early date in Kent
and Wiltshire, was the origin of the surname Gore.
The word itself derived from the Old English gara
meaning a “triangular piece of
land,” itself a derivative of gar
meaning “spear” and describing the triangular shape of the spearhead

Gore Resources on

Gore Ancestry

England.  Early
records of the surname were Alan atte Gore in Essex in 1273 and William
de Gora
in Wiltshire in 1274.  The surname was
particularly well recorded in the church registers of Wiltshire and
Kent from
the mid-16th century onwards.

The Gare place-name was to be found in Wiltshire in the Domesday
and Gore Cross near West Lavington dates from early times.

The Gores of Alderton
in northern Wiltshire first made their appearance with William Gore
around the
year 1330, with a later William Gore acquiring the manor of Alderton in
1382.  The antiquarian Thomas Gore, a descendant of this line,
wrote their family history in 1666.

The Gore family of London and Ireland has
been traced back to Wiltshire.  It was
John Gore who made the move from Wiltshire to London in the
mid-1500’s.  His son
Gerard prospered as a merchant and was made an alderman of the city.
grandson John prospered even more, was knighted, and was elected Lord
Mayor of
London in 1624:

  • he
    was the forebear in England through his son William of the
    in Somerset.  They became in 1890 through
    maternal connections the Earls Temple of Stowe.
  • he
    was also the forebear
    through his son Paul of the mighty Anglo-Irish Gore family.  In 1602 Paul Gore, forsaking commerce for
    arms, had departed for Ireland as a captain of a troop of horse.

Kent.  The place-name Gore Court near Maidstone
dates from the 1500’s or possibly earlier.

But the Gores in Kent were
mainly to be found around Thanet in the
northeast of the county.  David Gore’s
2006 book On Kentish Chalk: A Farming
Family of the North Downs
recounted the history of one Gore family,
beginning with Thomas Gore and Ann Jeffrey who were married in
Canterbury in
1641.  Another family line in Kent began
with the marriage of John and Mary Gore at St. Nicholas-at-Wade on the
Isle of
Thanet in 1675.

Lancashire.  The
largest number of Gores in the 1881 census was surprisingly in
Lancashire, and
here clustered around the port of Liverpool.

The early spelling in Liverpool and
the surrounding area may well have been Goore.
The first sighting of the name was at Lydiate near Ormskirk:

  • Gore
    Farm in Lydiate was a brick built house with low mullioned windows and
    a plaque
    stating that it was built in 1596.
  • John
    Goore of Lydiate, on his death in 1669,
    left a charity for the poor people of the town. The charity has
    continued to
    this day.

Goore was a Liverpool merchant who was active in the Virginia
tobacco trades from the 1740’s onwards.
His Letter Book at the time of the Revolutionary War (which
ruined his
business) has been published.

The Gore name became well-known in Liverpool
through Gore’s Directory
of Liverpool
had been begun by
John Gore in 1766 and continued under his authorship until 1803 and
that of his
son Johnson Gore until 1832.  In that
year Johnson Gore retired from business, heart-broken at the loss of
his only
son, and soon died.

  In 1602 Paul
had arrived in Ireland as captain of a troop of horse.  There he married a niece of the Strafford
family and in 1622 was made a baronet at Manor Gore in Donegal.  The main lines from him went as follows:

  • the
    senior line, that at Manor Gore, passed to his eldest son Ralph.  A later Sir Ralph Gore served as Chancellor
    of the Irish Exchequer in 1733.  They
    were ennobled as the Earls of Ross in 1770.  However,
    the direct male line died out in 1802.
  • the
    next in line, Arthur,
    in 1662 became a baronet at Newtown in Mayo.  His
    great grandson and namesake was elevated to the peerage
    as the Earl
    of Arran in 1762.  They built Belleek
    castle in 1830 and were large landowners in county Mayo during the 19th
    century.  Another line, the Ormsby-Gores
    in the early 1800’s, became Baron Harlech.

younger son Francis did not become
a baronet in his lifetime; but his descendant, Booth Gore of Artarman
in Sligo,
did in 1760.  This line became known as
the Gore-Booth baronets.  They made their
home at Lissadell House.  This was
a house of much splendor before its decline after World War One.
Two books –
Dermot James’s 2004 book The Gore-Booths
of Lissadell
and Sonja Tiernan’s 2012 book Eva
– traced this family’s history.

.  There was a Thomas
Gore, gentleman, reported among the early Jamestown settlers in 1607.  But he probably died the same year.  The three early Gore arrivals with lines of
descents were:

  • John
    Gore and his family who came to Roxbury, Massachusetts in
  • another
    John Gore who came to Middlesex county, Virginia in 1653.
  • and
    Gore who came to Frederick county, Maryland around 1677.

Massachusetts.  John Gore arrived with his family in Roxbury,
Massachusetts, from Southampton it is thought, in 1638.
He was the town clerk for many years, as was
his son John.  Their homestead in Roxbury
was inhabited by Gores until 1876.  His
descendants have been covered in two books – in 1943 The
John Gore Family
by Mary Ferris and in 1975 A Brief
Genealogy of the Gore Family
William Whitmore.

One line of these Gores became Boston merchants.  They
were divided by the Revolutionary
War.  John Gore was a Loyalist who
departed Boston in 1776; while his son Christopher remained.  He prospered in business and was elected
Governor of Massachusetts in 1809 and later became its Senator.  He died in 1834, leaving no children.  But his palatial Gore Place estate at Waltham
survives and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

Virginia.  John Goare or Gore came to
Middlesex county,
Virginia in 1653.  His descendant Henry
Gore, a farmer, moved to Shenandoah county in the 1770’s.  One
line via his first
wife Margaret led through John Gore to Tennessee where, after the
War, he was granted land in Overton county.
His line led to the later Gore politicians of Tennessee:

  • Albert Gore Sr, born in rural
    who became its Senator in 1952 and held the post until 1971.
  • and
    his son Al Gore,
    who followed in his father’s footsteps as Senator in 1984 and was US
    President under Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

lines via his second wife Anna
were to be found primarily in Missouri, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

.  Another early Gore line
began with James
Gore, possibly from Ireland, who married Mary Burke in Frederick
Maryland in 1695.  Later Gores from this
line were to be found in South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.  Notable among them were:

  • Thomas
    Gore, born in
    Mississippi, who was the US Senator for Oklahoma from 1907 to 1921 and
    1931 to 1937, despite the disability
    of being
  • and
    his grandson the writer Gore Vidal through his daughter Nina

Australia and New Zealand.  William Gore arrived from Ireland in 1806
to fill the post of Provost Marshal of New South Wales.
But he was subject to ongoing problems of
debt and penal confinement throughout most of his forty years in the

Other Gores from Ireland departed
for Australia after the death of their father, an Anglican clergyman,
in 1841.  These Gores had a more successful
time.  One son William became the rector of
Saints church in Parramatta; while other Gores of the family travelled
to the
Darling Downs in Queensland and established a sheep ranch in an area
became known as Yandilla.  In 1988 a
cairn was unveiled there in commemoration of this family.

An English Gore family came
to Melbourne from Liverpool in late 1852.
After trying the life of a Victorian gold-miner for a few
months, James
joined his father Hugh in Melbourne where they prospered in the
building trade.  However, news of a gold
strike in New Zealand
drew them to Dunedin on South Island in 1861.  James
had some gold success.  But
it was the building trade that again supported the family.

Gore Miscellany

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

Gore Names

in the early 1600’s the forefather of the
Anglo-Irish Gore family in Ireland.
served as both Governor and Senator for Massachusetts in the
Thomas Gore
was the blind
Senator for Oklahoma for twenty of the thirty years between 1907 and
1937.  His grandson was the writer Gore
Bill Gore
founded in 1958 the company
that was to become globally known for its waterproof, breathable
Al Gore
was the US Vice
President in 1992 and 1996 and Presidential hopeful in 2000 (until the

Select Gores Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 8,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)





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