Home Names Timeline Surnames Map


List 1
List 2



Gillespie Genealogy

Gillespie Surname Origin

The Gaelic for Archibald, from Gille, a youth or servant, and speach, a word expressive of quickness and sharpness in battle; spuaic, Gaelic, to break the head, to knock. May be associated with Clan MACPHERSON.

It is said to be the Anglicized form of Scottish Gille Easbaig or Irish Giolla Easpuig both meaning "servant of the bishop"

Gillespie DNA Project

There is a MAC/MCPHERSON DNA PROJECT at FTDNA. We encourage new participants with the surname MAC/MCPHERSON and the associated families to join this project first. As of April 2007 the MAC/MCPHERSON project has 20 participants. If DNA proves that you match a GILLESPIE we will cross-post your results here.


Connie McKenzie, Administrator of the Gillespie DNA Project, is Co - Administrator of the MacPherson DNA Project.

The Gillespie DNA Surname Project began in November 2004. The first DNA test kit was received by FTDNA in December 2004. As of April 2007, we now have 52 participants, and the results of 42 Gillespie descendants.

November 2006 -- we now have representatives of five of the well-known Gillespie lines of early America participating in this DNA project:

GROUP 1 -- Thomas Gillespie, b. 1719 and Naomi Thompson of Rowan Co. NC.

* Col. George Gillespie, b. 1735 of the Watauga Settlement and Limestone, Washington Co. TN. DNA has connected this line to Thomas Gillespie and Naomi Thompson.

GROUP 2 -- William Gillespie of the famous Gillespie Rifle makers and his brother Robert Gillespie. DNA has connected many off-shoot lines to this family group.

GROUP 3 -- The Gillespie line from Pickens Co. South Carolina.

GROUP 5 -- James Gillespie and wife Jennet of the Beverly Manor, Virginia and later in Blount Co. TN.

April 2007 -- We just found a descendant of Col. George Gillespie for testing. Col. Daniel Gillespie (1743-1829), a brother of Col. John, secured a grant from Earl Granville on South Buffalo, just south of Greensboro, NC about 1765. His wife was Margaret Hall, and their children were Daniel, John, James, Nancy, Anne, Robert, Patrick and Thankful. Col. John Gillespie was born in 1741 in Frederick County, Va., and came to the Greensboro area in 1762, and secured a grant from Earl Granville for 640 acres on the south side of South Buffalo. His wife was Elizabeth, and their children were Daniel, James S., Elizabeth and Anna. Guilford County, NC was formed in 1771 from parts of Rowan Co. NC and Orange Co. NC.

Documented descendants of these Gillespie families are needed for testing:

* Matthew Gillespie and wife Lucy.

* Gillespies who lived in Lancaster Co. PA and Prince Edward Co. VA and married into the Ewing family.

* Joseph Gillespie of Coddle Creek Church

* Col. Daniel Gillespie of VA

* Thomas Gillespie and wife Eleanor of VA

* Rev. George Gillespie lines of Scotland with proven lineage

* Any GILLESPIE families that can trace their lineage back to Scotland


The link above will take you to a discussion group for the Gillespie DNA Project. Use this forum to discuss your DNA matches, ask questions or to recruit participants to DNA test for your Gillespie line. You can post information about your individual Gillespie line by sharing your genealogy research in messages or files. You can also add photos to this site, and add a link to your own family website. We have a similar site for the MACPHERSON DNA PROJECT.

We have discovered through the DNA testing of early project members that there are many separate and unique family lines. So far, no DNA sequence (haplotype) can be identified as representative of the GILLESPIE/MAC/MCPHERSON surnames. However, recent matches have allowed us to establish the haplotype for specific family lines.

My name is Connie McKenzie. I am the administrator of the GILLESPIE SURNAME DNA PROJECT. Richard Gillespie is the co-administator. We "met" several years ago while researching our GILLESPIE ancestors on the internet. Our great-great-grandfathers were brothers, and descendants of THOMAS GILLESPIE and NAOMI THOMPSON of Rowan Co. North Carolina.

Charles Moore, our Project Analyst is a Gillespie descendant who's line is connected with DNA GROUP 2, the Gillespie Rifle Makers.

The GILLESPIE SURNAME DNA PROJECT is especially interested in finding documented male Gillespie descendants from the following line:

Rev. GEORGE GILLESPIE, b. 1683 in Scotland and d. 01-02-1760 in Newark, New Castle Co. Delaware.

Rev. GEORGE GILLESPIE, b. 1683 was a Presbyterian minister at White Clay Creek http://www.accessible.com/amcnty/DE/Delaware/Delaware47.htm and Head of Christiana Church. His wife was REBECCA ALLISON. The parents of Rev. GEORGE b. 1683 were Rev. GEORGE GILLESPIE b. 1644 in Scotland and wife ANN GARNER. His grandparents were Rev. GEORGE GILLESPIE b. Jan. 21, 1612/13 in Scotland, http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/gillespie_george.htm and wife MARGARET MURRAY.


International Society of Genetic Genealogy

Genetic Genealogy Questions and Answers for Beginners from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy

This is a discussion group for DNA NEWBIES at Yahoo sponsored by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy

Kerchner's DNA Testing & Genetic Genealogy Info and Resources Page

This site - Genetealogy.com...Genealogy and Genetics was created by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, one of the co-authors of "Trace Your Roots with DNA."

This email list is specifically for exchange of information and ideas connected to the use of DNA testing for genealogy. Members range from DNA neophites to scientists. You will get LOTS of mail every day if you subscribe to this list - and expect heated debates. The DNA "newbies" as the list calls them, can get lost in the shuffle of those interested in "deep ancestry" and statistics - so be forewarned.

http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/index/GENEALOGY-DNA This is the link to the archives for Genealogy-DNA if you don't want to subscribe to the email list

"Trace Your Roots with DNA" by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner.

"The Seven Daughters of Eve" by Bryan Sykes.


This is a great website created by Norma Gillespie of Canada. She has collected Gillespie records and links to the work of Gillespie family researchers throughout the world! Take a look!

This site has some terrific photography as well as written histories and links about some GILLESPIES and related families. Maybe you'll find your line here - and if you do we certainly want you in this DNA project!

This is a link to the Gillespie Rifle Works run by a descendant of the famous Gillespie rifle makers

This site gives some history on the origins of the name GILLESPIE, and the existance of Clan Gillespie.

GILLESPIE is a sept of CLAN MACPHERSON. Information about the history of the GILLESPIE name and CLAN MACPHERSON can be found on this website: http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/macpher.html

GILLESPIE's are part of Clan Chattan through their association with Clan Macpherson.




Scots and Scots Descendants in America, pub. 1917: online book

History of Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania, pub. 1883: online book -- this was the starting point in America for many Scots and Scots/Irish

SCOTTISH, IRISH AND NORTH AMERICAN HISTORY AND SOCIETIES: These sites are not affiliated with the Gillespie Surname DNA Project, however, Gillespie researchers may find information at these sites helpful.



Some famous Gillespie's are:

Dizzy Gillespie
January 6, 1993

Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most famous composers of be-bop, a form of modern jazz that he created along with pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Kenny Clarke, guitarist Charlie Christian, and alto saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. Gillespie contributed an enormous amount to jazz and modern music and he played up until he died, which was on this day, January 6, 1993. Gillespie described be-bop as music with a different accent, " ... on the up beat. Instead of OO-bah, it's oo-BAH. Different chords too."

County Down, Ireland 1766-1814

This soldier had an extensive military career, in the American Carribean, Indonesia and India, and was finally killed while  leading an attack in Nepal.  His career was printed in the Gillespie Family Newsletter in 2001.


A Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. Graduated from USMA in 1862 and was posted as a First Lieutenant in the US Regular Army Corps of Engineers. He was awarded the medal for bravery in Virginia re an incident May 31st, for voluntarily making his way through enemy lines to communicate with General Sherman. Captured, he escaped, and, almost captured again, he fled through firing lines to fulfill his mission.  He remained in the army after the war and rose through its ranks.

ARNOLD "Buddy' GILLESPIE 1899 - 1978

A Hollywood special effects pioneer. His career spanned 40 years, and more than 130 films. His best known work was
Wizard of Oz

JOHN GILLESPIE (1753-1822) & his three sons,:

gun maker. Wife Jane Harvey.  They made the famous Gillespie rifles used by early pioneers, including Daniel Boone. John is buried in  East Fork, Transylvania  Co., North Carolina., where he lived most of his life. He was the son of William Gillespie and Mary of Virginia.  John took his family twice to the Pendelton District of South Carolina, where two of his children were born,  but returned to reside in East Fork.

WILLIAM GILLESPIE, Aug 6, 1905 to June 30, 2001 -

Eminent Psychoanalyst developing Freud's ideas on sex and death.  (This information submitted by Jim Byrnes). From Newry, County Down, Ireland, son of missionary parents in China.


a Secret Agent for President James Knox Polk during the Mexican American War - notes from Derek Hastings family history research.

JAMES GILLESPIE BLAINE, US Congressman, Senator,  Secretary of State, & Presidential Candidate, Republican Party. 1830-1893.

JAMES GILLESPIE (1747-1805) of North Carolina - Member of Congress, State House of Commons 1784-1786.  Try also http://www.lib.unc.edu/MSS/inv/g/Gillespie_and_Wright_Family


New Democratic Party, Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Minister of Women's Equality, 2000


Home | Names | Timeline | Surnames | Map