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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015
Origins Available: English, French
Where did the English Gilbert family come from? What is the English Gilbert family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gilbert family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gilbert family history?The notable Gilbert family arose among the Cornish People, a race with a rich Celtic heritage and an indomitable fighting spirit who inhabited the southwest of England. While surnames were well-known during the English medieval period, Cornish People originally used only a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames came into common use is interesting. As the population of medieval Europe multiplied, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Patronymic surnames were derived from given names and were the predominant type of surname among the Celtic peoples of Britain. However, the people of Cornwall provide a surprising exception to this rule, and patronymic surnames are less common among them than other people of Celtic stock, such as their Welsh neighbors. This is due to the greater influence of English bureaucracy and naming practices in Cornwall at the time that surnames first arose. This type of surname blended perfectly with the prevailing Feudal System. One feature that is occasionally found in Cornish surnames of this type is the suffix -oe or -ow; this is derived from the Cornish plural suffix -ow. is a patronymic surname that came from the ancient Germanic personal name Gisilbert, meaning bright pledge.
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Gilbert, Gilbart and others.
First found in Devon where they were well established shortly after the Conquest with Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083 - c. 1190,) son of a wealthy Norman knight, a theologian, who became the first Englishman to found a convent; he was canonized in 1202. "The Gilbertines were an English order with numerous convents at the time of the suppression."  The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed the following: Isolda filius Gilberti; Robert Gilbertus; and Eustace filius Gilebert, while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Nicholas Gilberdson; and Johannes Gilberd. 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilbert research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1537, 1583, 1544, 1603, 1613 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Gilbert History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 103 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilbert Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Gilbert family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Gilbert:
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Gilbert Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Gilbert Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: Teg yw heddwch
Motto Translation: Peace is pleasing.
The Gilbert Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gilbert 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 9 November 2015 at 12:30.