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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Gibbs family come from? What is the Scottish Gibbs family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gibbs family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gibbs family history?

The ancestors of the first family to use the name Gibbs lived among the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The name Gibbs is derived from Gibb, which is a pet form of the personal name Gilbert. This name is derived from the Old English forenames Gislberht and Gislbeorht, which mean bright hostage.


The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Gibbs has been spelled Gibb, Gibbe, Gibbs, Gibbes and others.

First found in Inverness-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) divided between the present day Scottish Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles, and consisting of a large northern mainland area and various island areas off the west coast, the shire was anciently both a Pictish and Norwegian stronghold, where they held a family seat from very early times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gibbs research. Another 257 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1521, 1585, 1622, 1689, 1654, 1656 and 1677 are included under the topic Early Gibbs History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 41 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gibbs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Gibbs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Gibbs:

Gibbs Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Francis Gibbs, who arrived in Virginia in 1624
  • Giles Gibbs, who landed in Massachusetts in 1633
  • Jane Gibbs, aged 25, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Gibbs, aged 35, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Humphry Gibbs, who landed in Virginia in 1639

Gibbs Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Gibbs, who arrived in America in 1760
  • John Gibbs, who landed in America in 1760
  • Abraham Gibbs, a Jacobite Loyalist sold into slavery in Maryland in 1760

Gibbs Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Ruth Gibbs, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • James Gibbs, who arrived in New York in 1818
  • Thomas F Gibbs, who landed in New York in 1835
  • Andrew Gibbs, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1841
  • Mrs. Gibbs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850


  • George Gibbs (1815-1873), American geologist and ethnologist
  • Marla Gibbs (b. 1931), five-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee
  • Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (1822-1908), American chemist, best known for performing the first electrogravimetric analyses
  • William Francis Gibbs (1886-1967), American naval architect and marine engineer, designer of the ocean liner SS United States
  • Robert Lane Gibbs (1971-2009), American politician, 28th White House Press Secretary (2009-2011)
  • Timothy Gibbs (b. 1967), American Emmy Award nominated director, actor, producer, and screenwriter
  • Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs II (1821-1874), American Presbyterian minister and a prominent African-American officeholder during Reconstruction, the 1st Black Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction of Florida
  • Sir Philip Gibbs (1877-1962), English journalist and author, knighted in 1920
  • Herschelle Herman Gibbs (b. 1974), South African cricketer
  • James Gibbs (1682-1754), one of Britain's most influential architects



  • Gibbs-Chilton-Evans: Families of Rockingham County, North Carolina by Lizora Powell Harbour.
  • The Gibbs Family History and Their Relatives of the Olden Times by Vernon Lee Gibbs.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Tenax propositi
Motto Translation: Firm of purpose.


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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  3. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  7. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  8. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  10. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  11. ...

The Gibbs Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gibbs Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 May 2014 at 23:32.

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