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The age-old Pictish-Scottish family name Gilfillan is derived from the Gaelic name Gille Fhaolain, which means servant of St. Fillan. Patronymic names often substituted the name of a saint or other revered religious figure in place of a devout bearer's actual father.

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The surname Gilfillan was first found in Fife, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Gilfillan has been spelled Gilfillan, Gilfilland, Gilfillen, Gilfillian, Gilfillin, Gilfillon, Gillfillan, Gillfilland, Gillfillen, Gillfillian and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilfillan research. Another 152 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1215, 1275, 1296, 1477, and 1516 are included under the topic Early Gilfillan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gilfillan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Gilfillan:

Gilfillan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Gilfillan who settled in New Jersey in 1685
  • John Gilfillan, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Gilfillan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Gilfillan, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839

Gilfillan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Gilfillan, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Lismoyne"

Gilfillan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Alexander Gilfillan, aged 48, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Mary Gilfillan, aged 34, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Georgia Gilfillan, aged 12, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Elizabeth Gilfillan, aged 11, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Mary Gilfillan, aged 10, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
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  • Merrill D. Gilfillan (b. 1945), American poet
  • Reverend Joseph Alexander Gilfillan (1838-1913), Irish-born, American missionary in northern Minnesota from 1873 until 1908
  • John Bachop "J.B." Gilfillan (1835-1924), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota
  • James Gilfillan (1836-1929), 13th Treasurer of the United States
  • Calvin Willard Gilfillan (1832-1901), American politician, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • Robert Gilfillan (1798-1850), Scottish songwriter and poet
  • Reverend George Gilfillan (1813-1878), Scottish poet and critic
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    3. 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.
    4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    6. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
    7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    8. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
    9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    11. ...

    The Gilfillan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gilfillan 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 June 2016 at 18:04.

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