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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

Clasby is an ancient Pictish-Scottish name. It is derived from the Gaelic name Gilleasbuig, which means the bishop's servant. The Gaelic word easbuig is borrowed from the Latin word episcopus, which means bishop. Patronymic names often substituted the name of a saint or other revered religious figure in place of a devout bearer's actual father. The name Clasby is regarded as the Gaelic cognate of the Anglo-Saxon personal name Archibald, for reasons that remain obscure.

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Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. Clasby has appeared Gillespie, Gilaspy, Gilaspie, Gilespie, Gilespy, Gillaspey, Gillaspie, Gillaspy, Gillespay, Gillespee, Gillespery, Gillespey, Gillespie, Gillespy, Gillispey and many more.

First found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland. For the origin of the name, Sir Thomas Innes tells us that the name is derived from Sliochd Gillies a Chieftain of the MacPhersons in Invershie. He places this branch of the MacPhersons, as descendants of Elias MacPherson, brother of Kenneth MacPherson, ancestor of the MacPherson Clan. However, Gillies was recorded as living approximately 1250-1300, and this record is predated by researches by two other historians who place a Ewan filius Gillespie as witnessing a Charter by Alwoin, Earl of Lennox, granted in 1175. The connection between this earlier record and the MacPherson line is vague and uncertain but most historians agree that the Gillespie are of the Clan Chattan.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clasby research. Another 427 words(30 lines of text) covering the years 1175, 1228, 1229, 1617, 1675, 1613, 1648, 1648, 1776 and 1825 are included under the topic Early Clasby History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 129 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clasby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Clasby family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scots left their country to travel to the North American colonies in search of the freedom they could not find at home. Of those who survived the difficult voyage, many found the freedom they so desired. There they could choose their own beliefs and allegiances. Some became United Empire Loyalists and others fought in the American War of Independence. The Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up in the last century have allowed many of these disparate Scots to recover their collective national identity. A search of immigration and passenger ship lists revealed many early settlers bearing the Clasby name:

Clasby Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • M Clasby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Clasby Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Clasby 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 6 November 2012 at 17:01.

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