Gregg/Greig Genealogy

Gregg and Greig surnames are both diminutives of the
personal name Gregory, from the Greek Gregorios
(meaning “watchful”), which was popularized in Britain after the
and Greig
were names of northern England (Gregg primarily) and
of Scotland
(Grieg primarily), although Gregg did also start to appear in western
after the MacGregor clan name had been banned.
The Scottsh Greig was pronounced “Greeg” and became Grieg when
taken to
Scandinavia.The Grigg and Griggs
surnames, also probably derived from Gregory, were spellings in SW and
England respectively.

Gregg/Greig Resources on

Gregg/Greig Ancestry

Scotland has both Greigs and Greggs, the Greigs on the east coast and
the Greggs on the west.

East CoastThe
best-known Greigs here found fame abroad:

  • the
    line from Alexander Greig of Fraserburgh
    in Aberdeenshire who departed Scotland in 1746 led to a family of
    merchants in Norway.  Edvard Grieg, born
    there in 1843, became a famous composer, known for his adaptation of
    folk tunes.
  • while
    Samuel Greig, a naval officer from Fife, was recruited into the
    Russian Navy in the 1760’s.  He was
    father to Alexey Greig, an admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy, and
    grandfather to SamuilGreig, Russian Minister of Finance in the 1870’s.

had the
largest numbers and the earliest recording.
Patrick Grige was admitted as a burgess of Aberdeen in 1488.

Grieg was born at Banchory Devenick in Kincardineshire in 1775.  James Grieg married Anne Arkle at Damfoord in
1822.  Many of their grandchildren
emigrated to Canada in the 1860’s.

Griegs at Auchterderran in Fife date from the
1730’s.  The Rev. David Greig was
minister there in the 1770’s.  The
Kinghorn church cemetery near Kirkcaldy has the following gravestone:
“On the
east side of this stone lies the remains of Robert Greig who died on
April 29,
1794 aged 56.”  James and Catherine Greig, born there, emigrated
to Boston with
their children in the 1820’s.

West of
.  They were mainly Greggs in western Scotland,
although fewer in number.

The MacGregor clan
name had been banned
in 1603 and a number of MacGregors had taken the name of Gregg or Greg,
that were to be  found at Glenorchy in Argyllshire and at various
places in
Ayrshire.  Many later crossed the Irish
Sea to Ulster.  William Gregg, born in
Ayrshire, was a dance master and fiddle player to the poet Robert Burns
in the
late 1700’s.

Ireland.  Most Greggs or
Gregs in Ireland were of Scottish and probable MacGregor extraction.  Included in their number were:

  • John
    Greg who had come to Glenarm in Antrim
    sometime in the 1640’s and died there.  His
    son William was forced to leave his father’s home for
    Waterford.  William’s son William Gregg, a Quaker,
    departed Waterford for Pennsylvania in 1682. 
  • John Gregg who had moved to Derry fought at
    the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.  His
    sword and espontoon at the battle were preserved by the descendants of
    Gregg who left with his brother Andrew for America in 1722. 
  • and John Greg, the son of James Gregg of
    Ochiltree in Ayrshire, who moved to Belfast in 1715.
    He was the forebear of an
    enterprising Greg family
    who prospered in West Indian cotton
    plantations and, through his nephew Samuel, in cotton mills in

Scottish MacGregor line went to the
Greggs of Shantonagh in county Monaghan.
John Gregg, born there in 1867, was the inventor of the Gregg
system which he brought to America in 1893 and met with great success. 

Some Greggs were of English
origin.  This was probably true of
Jonathan Gregg, a landowner at Ennis in county Clare in the late 1600’s.  His descendants included the 19th century
father and son clergymen John and Robert Gregg, both Trinity College
educated.  One was an Anglican bishop, the
other an
Anglican Archbishop.

England.  Gregg is a name principally
of northern

The earliest Gregg reference was a Joan Gregg who founded an almshouse
in her will of 1416 at Posterngate in Hull. This
became the Gregg’s House Hospital in the 1700’s.  John
Gregg was a Hull merchant in the
1450’s.   Another Gregg family was a
Puritan one in the 1600’s in Chester and later at Haywood Hall in

A more recent Gregg
reference is John Gregg who started
delivering eggs and yeast on his pushbike to families in the
Newcastle area in the late 1930’s.  Thus
Greggs the bakers was born.

America.  The arrivals in America, according to
shipping data, were almost equally divided between those from Scotland,
Ireland and England, with the spelling in most cases being Gregg
An early sighting was Thomas Gregg in Northumberland county, Virginia
in 1648.

Scots Irish.  The
main subsequent Gregg lines were Scots Irish.

William Gregg the Quaker from Waterford came in 1682 and
settled in New Castle county, Delaware.  Later Greggs spread to
Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas.  There were
some notable descendants:

  • Jacob
    a silversmith and watchmaker in Virginia
  • and
    his nephew William Gregg,
    born in 1800,
    has been called “the
    father of the textile industry in the South.”  His
    textile mill helped to establish the town
    of Graniteville, South Carolina

Hazel Middleton’s 1944
book The Descendants of William Gregg
covered the various lines.

Captain James Gregg from Antrim was one of the first sixteen
settlers of Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1719.  He built a grist
mill and was a leading citizen there:

  • he
    was the forebear of the Greggs of Nashua, New Hampshire.
    David Gregg probably established the family’s
    fortunes with the businesses he set up in Nashua in the 1870’s.  His grandson Hugh was Governor of New
    Hampshire in the 1950’s; and his great grandson Judd later held
    the posts of Governor and Senator of New Hampshire.
  • while
    another line led
    southward to Sullivan county in east Tennessee where Nathan Gregg was
    born in
    1794.  He settled in Alabama.
    His son John was a distinguished politician,
    judge, and Confederate general, but was killed during the fighting in
    1864.  John Gregg from Sullivan county
    settled in
    Indiana.  His son John fought on the
    Union side in the Civil War and survived.

David and Andrew Gregg from Derry came to Boston in 1722.
David settled in New Hampshire.  Andrew’s descendants made their
home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  A later Andrew Gregg was the US
Senator for Pennsylvania from 1807 to 1813.  Two of his grandsons
John and David were Union generals during the Civil War.

a Gragg family, beginning probably with John Gragg, was to be found in
county, Virginia by the 1750’s. His son
Robert later settled in Greene county, Tennessee.  Other
Graggs made their home in Kentucky and
in Caldwell county, North Carolina where there is a Gragg Creek and a

and New Zealand
Griegs from the east
coast of Scotland were 19th century arrivals there.
James Grieg and Catherine Cock from
Midlothian were able to obtain a free passage on the Dumfries
and arrived in South Australia in 1839.  They
made their home at Cairn Hill near
Riverton.  Daniel Grieg and his family
from Dundee came to Wellington, New Zealand in 1874.
His son William was a prominent civic leader
in nearby Upper Hutt.

William Gregg from
county Antrim, drawn by gold, ventured first to Ballarat in Victoria in
1850’s and then to Dunedin in New Zealand.
He was a coffee and spice manufacturer and made his mark in New
with his Gregg’s Club Coffee.

Gregg/Greig Miscellany

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

Gregg/Greig Names

John Greg, Scots Irish,
was the progenitor of an 18th century West India merchant family that
were later cotton mill owners in Manchester.
William Gregg pioneered the
development of cotton mills in the American South in the first half of
the 19th century.
Aleksey Greig became
an Admiral in the Russian navy in the 1820’s.
Edvard Grieg, from Scottish
roots, was a Nowegian composer of the late 1800’s, one of the leading
Romantic composers of his time.
Tony Greig, born in South
Africa of Scottish parents, was the English cricket captain in the
1970’s and subsequently a cricket commentator in Australia.

Select Greggs/Greigs Today

  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Aberdeenshire)
  • 12,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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