Gilbert History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Gilbert family

The surname Gilbert was first found in Devon where they were well established shortly after the Conquest with Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083-1190,) son of a wealthy Norman knight, a theologian, who became the first Englishman to found a convent; he was canonized in 1202. He was founder of the order that bears his name.

Gilbert the Universal (d. 1134?), was Bishop of London, "is described as 'natione Britannus' by Richard of Poitiers, who probably means a Breton rather than a Welshman." [1]

Gilbert of Louth (d. 1153?), Abbot of Basingwerk, was sent by Gervase, founder and first abbot of Louth in Lincolnshire, about 1140 to an Irish king " in order to obtain a grant to build a monastery in Ireland. The grant was made, and on Gilbert complaining that he did not understand the language, the king gave him as an interpreter the knight Owen, who, according to the legend, had descended into purgatory." [1]

"The Gilbertines were an English order with numerous convents at the time of the suppression." [2]

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. [2]

Early History of the Gilbert family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilbert research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1537, 1583, 1544, 1603, 1613, 1694 and are included under the topic Early Gilbert History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilbert Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Gilbert family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir Robert Gilbert of Somerson; Sir Humphrey Gilbert (c.1537-1583), English soldier and politician, known as the first English colonizer, even though his...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilbert Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gilbert family to Ireland

Some of the Gilbert family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gilbert migration to the United States +

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
  • Raleigh Gilbert settled to Maine in 1607
  • John Gilbert, who settled in New England in 1620
  • John Gilbert, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630
  • Richard Gilbert, who landed in Maryland in 1633 [3]
  • Tichard Gilbert, who arrived in Maryland in 1634 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Gilbert, who settled in Boston in 1716
  • Bond Gilbert, who settled in Nevis, Massachusetts in 1722
  • Dorothy Gilbert, who landed in Virginia in 1724 [3]
  • Anthony Gilbert, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [3]
  • Anthorn Gilbert, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Christopher Gilbert, who arrived in America in 1802 [3]
  • Charles Gilbert, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812 [3]
  • Peter R Gilbert, aged 43, who landed in Maryland in 1812 [3]
  • Colomeza, Jose Gilbert, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1816 [3]
  • Adam Gilbert, who arrived in Maryland in 1825 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gilbert Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Walter Henry Gilbert, who arrived in Mississippi in 1902 [3]

Canada Gilbert migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Pierre Gilbert, aged 35, who arrived in Quebec in 1658
  • Mr. Pierre Gilbert, French settler travelling to Canada to work for Pierre de Voyer d'Argenson, arriving on 12th April 1658 [4]
  • Etienne Gilbert, son of Henry and Renée, who married Marguerite Thibaut, daughter of Michel and Jeanne, in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec on 1st March 1683 [5]
  • Pierre Gilbert married Michelle Seguillet, daughter of Nicolas and Renée, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec on 29th September 1685 [5]
  • Louis Gilbert, son of Vincent and Vincente, who married Marie-Thérèse Gallien, daughter of Jean and Marguerite, in Champlain, Quebec on 7th January 1687 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jean-François Gilbert, son of Etienne and Marguerite, who married Catherine Bédard, daughter of Etienne and Marie, in Charlesbourg, Quebec on 29th August 1718 [5]
  • Augustin Gilbert, son of Etienne and Marguerite, who married Catherine Liberge, daughter of Jacques and Jeanne-Angélique, in Quebec on 6th February 1719 [5]
  • Louis Gilbert, son of Louis and Marie, who married Anne-Madeleine Jacques, daughter of Louis and Antoinette, in Charlesbourg, Quebec on 20th April 1722 [5]
  • Charles Gilbert, son of Charles and Marie, who married Marie-Jeanne Lefebvre, daughte of Pierre and Marie, in Quebec on 8th January 1724 [5]
  • Pierre Gilbert, son of Jean and Élisabeth, who married Marie-Anne Archambault, daughter of Laurent and Anne, in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec on 2nd November 1729 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gilbert Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Ann Gilbert, who arrived in Halifax in 1811
  • Ann Gilbert, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1811
  • Anne Gilbert, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1811
  • John Gilbert, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1811
  • John Gilbert, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1811
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gilbert migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gilbert Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
Gilbert Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Gilbert, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Daniel Gilbert, British Convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • William Gilbert, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • George Gilbert, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • John Gilbert, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gilbert migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gilbert Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Gilbert, aged 22, a tailor, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • Isabella Gilbert, aged 5, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • Christina Gilbert, aged 3, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • William Gilbert, aged 35, a farmer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • Philip Gilbert, aged 6, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilbert (post 1700) +

  • Thomas "Tommy" Edward Gilbert Sr. (1940-2015), American professional wrestler, inducted into the Memphis Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994
  • Ruth Alice "Ronnie" Gilbert (1926-2015), American folk singer, songwriter and activist, one of the original members of the music quartet the Weavers
  • Major-General Harold Napoleon Gilbert (1896-1966), American Director of Military Personnel Procurement Service, Office of the Adjutant-General (1945-1946) [12]
  • Walter Gilbert (b. 1932), American molecular biologist, who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1980
  • Alfred Carlton Gilbert (1884-1961), American inventor, athlete, toy-maker and businessman
  • Cass Gilbert (1859-1934), American architect
  • Olin E. Gilbert, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 11½ aerial victories
  • Addison S. Gilbert, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Florida 13th District, 1986 [13]
  • Abraham S. Gilbert, American Republican politician, Candidate for Justice of New York Supreme Court 1st District, 1912; Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [13]
  • Abijah H. Gilbert, American politician, First Selectman of Derby, Connecticut, 1896 [13]
  • ... (Another 111 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Master William George  Gilbert (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [14]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Harold Gilbert (b. 1919), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Manchester, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Charles E G Gilbert (b. 1911), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Wimborne, Dorset, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Alfred Edwin  Gilbert (b. 1905), DSM,, English Chief Yeoman of Signals from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Frederick P Gilbert, British Boy 2nd Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [17]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William Gilbert (d. 1912), aged 47, English Second Class passenger from Carleens, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [18]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Arthur B. Gilbert, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [19]


The Gilbert Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Gilbert +

  • 204 Ancestry of the Jameson Gilbert, Joy, Skinner, and Related Families by Bradner Petersen, The Dunlap-Kimbrough-Gilbert Book by Sarah Ada Rasco Crumpton.

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Debien, Gabriel. Liste Des Engagés Pour Le Canada Au XVIIe Siècle. Vol. 6, Laval University, 1952. (Retreived 24th May 2018). Retrieved from https://lebloguedeguyperron.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/130-liste-des-contrats-dengagement-pour-la-nouvelle-france-releves-a-la-rochelle-entre-1634-et-1679/
  5. ^ Internoscia, Arthur E., and Claire Chevrier. Dictionnaire National des Canadiens Français 1608-1760. Vol. 1, Institut Drouin, 1958.
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  12. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 5) Harold Gilbert. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Gilbert/Harold_Napoleon/USA.html
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  15. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  18. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  19. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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