Guthrie Surname Genealogy
The Guthrie surname derives from the Scottish place-name
of Guthrie, a barony known as “the lands of Guthrie” in Angus in NE
Scotland. The root of the name is a
Gaelic word meaning “windy place” or “arrows in the
wind.” The Guthrie place-name gave
rise to the Guthrie clan. There are other theories about the Guthrie
but they do not have much credibility.
Guthrie Resources on
- Clan Guthrie
US Guthrie clan site.
- Guthrie Family Heritage
Guthries from Ireland to America.
- Guthrie Genealogy
Guthrie lines in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
- Guthrie DNA Project
The Guthries of Guthrie received their estates by a
charter from King David II sometime in the mid-14th century. The clan came to prominence in 1461 when Sir
David Guthrie of Guthrie, Armor-Bearer to the King, was appointed Lord
Treasurer of Scotland. He obtained a
warrant to build Guthrie castle
Forfar in Angus, which remains standing to this day.
It seemed that the
clan had four main branches. A rhyme of
the 17th century quoted them as follows:
o’ Guthrie and Guthrie o’
Guthrie o’ Taybank an’ Guthrie o’ Craigie.”
Some Guthries supported the
existing religious order, others
were converts to Presbyterianism. The
Covenanter James Guthrie, referred to by
Oliver Cromwell as “the little man who refused to kneel,” was
executed for his beliefs in Edinburgh in 1661.
Thomas Guthrie grew up in Angus in the
early 19th century. He was one of the
most popular preachers in Scotland of his day and was associated with
forms of philanthropy – especially temperance and the Ragged Schools,
he was a founder. His son Charles, a friend of Robert Louis
Stevenson, became a
judge and Lord Guthrie; his grandson Tyrone Guthrie (who inherited the
Guthrie genes and the Irish Tyrone genes) an English theatrical
ambition spanned the Atlantic.
The Guthrie name did spread into the Scottish Lowlands and Border
Guthrie line in the Scottish borders traces itself back to Robert
Eyemouth, Berwickshire in the mid-1600’s.
Scots came to Ireland in the 17th century either to take up plantation
land or as
a refuge from persecution. Most Guthries
seem to have come under the latter category.
Many stayed in the Derry area before embarking for America. Those who remained were mainly to be found in
Antrim, Down, and Derry.
also be an Irish name. Guthrie here
seems to have been an English corruption of the name Lahiff, from the
Gaelic O’Laithigh, found in county Clare around
Corrofin. A Guthrie family in Clare
traces itself back to Denis Guthrie who was born in Kilnaboy in 1840. The 1901 census listed three Guthrie families
in Kilnaboy, as well as eighteen other Guthrie families in the county.
Scots and Scots Irish, including Guthries, discovered America in the
arriving there from Philadelphia in the north to Charleston in the
south. The most complete account of these Guthries is the rather
dated but still valuable 1933 book American
and Allied Families by Lawrence Guthrie.
the early Guthries in Pennsylvania in fact came from Ireland and from
Londonderry in particular:
Guthrie came to America with his wife in 1730
and settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania. His father was a
who had escaped persecution by fleeing to Ireland.
James Guthrie came
and his wife Elizabeth in the
1760’s and they later settled in North Carolina. He
too was descended from a Covenanter. Family
legend has it that two of their sons
were married to two sisters and they travelled on horseback over the
to settle in Tennessee.
Robert and Bridget Guthrie arrived sometime
in the 1740’s. After a brief period in
Philadelphia, this couple lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Robert was a carpenter and cabinetmaker (the organizer of
the Carpenters’ Guild of Carlisle), trades that were followed by his
had come from
Cork in Ireland to Augusta county, Virginia in 1774. By the late
1700’s, there was a
cluster of Guthries in Halifax county, Virginia – three apparently
unrelated families of same name. Descendants of Thomas Guthrie, who
died there in 1786, were to be found
in Rockingham county on the border with North Carolina.
Guthries South and West.
Guthries moved South and West as the 19th century progressed.
Adam Guthrie, an early frontiersman, crossed the Cumberland mountains
in 1808 and settled in
Kentucky. His son James
became a Kentucky Senator and later served as the US Secretary of the
place-names, in Kentucky, Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma for
showed where some of these Guthries had moved to. John Guthrie from
Tennessee came via Alabama to Texas in 1835, settling in Washington
while Shadrach Guthrie from Kentucky came via Mississippi to Lavaca
Texas in the 1850’s.
There were Guthries from Texas who had moved to
Oklahoma in the early 1900’s, which is where Woody Guthrie, the
folksinger and author of This Land is Your Land,
was born. Texas has the
largest numbers of Guthries in America today.
Australia. Thomas Guthrie from
Berwickshire came to Tasmania
in 1847at the tender age of 14. He worked
as a station hand there before following the gold rush to
Victoria in the early 1850’s. He made
his money as an auctioneer and invested in the Rich Avon sheep grazing
near Bendigo in 1864. The land remains
with Guthrie descendants today. Tom
Guthrie’s 2014 book The Longest Drive
recounted the early history.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Sir David Guthrie of Guthrie was Lord Treasurer of
Scotland between 1461 and 1467 and subsequently Comptroller
of the Exchequer.
James Guthrie was a Scottish
Presbyterian minister hanged for his faith in 1661 in Edinburgh.
Thomas Guthrie was a Scottish 19th century
preacher and philanthropist known for his advocacy of temperance and
schools” for children (of which he was a founder).
Woody Guthrie was a
famous American singer/songwriter and folk musician.
Many of his songs are about his experiences
in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled
migrant workers from Oklahoma to California.
Tyrone Guthrie was a 20th century English
theatrical director instrumental in the founding of theaters in Canada,
America, and Ireland.
Select Guthries Today
- 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 10,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Leave a Reply