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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

The surname Gibbons is derived from the name Gibb, a short form of the Norman personal name Gilbert. This name was originally derived from the name Gislebert, which is comprised of the Germanic elements "gisil," which means "hostage" or "noble youth," and "berht," which means "bright" or "famous." The name features the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix "fitz," which means "son of" in Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately comes from the Latin word " filius," both of which mean "son." The Gaelic form of the surname Gibbons is Mac Giobúin.

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During the Middle Ages, a single person often had their name recorded by church officials and scribes many different ways. Names were typically spelt as they sounded, which resulted in many different spelling variations. The many versions of the name Gibbons to have been recorded over the years include: Fitzgibbon, Fitzgibbons, MacGibbon, Gibbon, Gibbons, Gibben, Gibbens, Gibbin, Gibbins and many more.

First found in counties of Mayo and Limerick, where two distinct families arose shortly after Strongbow invasion of Ireland in 1172. The majority of the family hails from Mayo and were a branch of the great Burke family. They were originally known as MacGibbon Burke. They gave their name to Ballymacgibbon in County Mayo. The Limerick FitzGibbon families are descended from John Fitzgerald, whose three sons became hereditary knights of Desmond in 1333. Two branches of this family, known respectively as the knights of Glin and the knights of Kerry, remained Fitzgeralds. However, the third branch became known by the surname Fitzgibbon and was led by the White Knight, Maurice FitzGibbon, son of Sir Gilbert fitz John, eldest illegitimate son of John FitzGerald, 1st Baron Desmond. The territory of this branch lay in the southeastern corner of Limerick near County Cork.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gibbons research. Another 127 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1357, 1419, 1496, 1530, 1543, 1569, 1569, 1552, 1608 and 1596 are included under the topic Early Gibbons History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 163 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gibbons Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Gibbons:

Gibbons Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Edward Gibbons, who landed in New England in 1629
  • Ambrose Gibbons, who arrived in New England in 1632
  • Mathew Gibbons, aged 20, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Oliver Gibbons, who arrived in Maryland in 1635
  • James Gibbons, who arrived in New England in 1652


Gibbons Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Guy Gibbons, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Peter Gibbons, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Easter Gibbons, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Henry Gibbons, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1767
  • Nicholas Gibbons, who landed in South Carolina in 1772

Gibbons Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Gibbons, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1800
  • William Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • M Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • J Gibbons, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • H Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816


Gibbons Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Richd Gibbons, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Susanah Gibbons, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Dennis Gibbons, who landed in Quebec in 1784

Gibbons Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Wm Gibbons, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • Dorothy Gibbons, aged 19, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • George Gibbons arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • James Gibbons, aged 18, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834

Gibbons Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Josiah Gibbons, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Samuel Gibbons arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • William Gibbons arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • Sarah Gibbons arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • Sarah Gibbons, aged 33, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849


Gibbons Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Eileen Gibbons arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856
  • Samuel Gibbons arrived in Canterbury aboard the ship "Hastings" in 1856
  • Sarah Gibbons arrived in Canterbury aboard the ship "Hastings" in 1856
  • Annie Gibbons, aged 20, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • William Gibbons, aged 14, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874


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  • John Howard "Jack" Gibbons (1929-2015), American scientist, nuclear physicist, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Mr. Michael Gibbons (d. 1915), American 3rd Class passenger from Chicago, Illinois, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • James Gibbons (1834-1921), American clergyman, Archbishop of Baltimore, (1877-1921)
  • William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons (b. 1949), American musician, actor and car customizer, best known as the guitarist for ZZ Top, according to Rolling Stone, he's ranked 32nd on the list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" (2011)
  • Cedric Gibbons (1893-1960), American art director
  • Carroll Gibbons (1903-1954), American-born British bandleader
  • Kaye Gibbons (b. 1960), American novelist
  • Scott Gibbons, American composer
  • Mr. Stanley Edward Gibbons, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Thomas William Gibbons, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

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  1. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  2. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Gibbons Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gibbons 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 17 August 2015 at 12:44.

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