Show ContentsGillett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Gillett was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. It comes from a diminution of the medieval given name Giles. That name is derived from the Greek aigidion, which means kid, or young goat. [1]

"In England there are numerous families who write their name Gillett and Gillot, all of French extraction." [2]

"Oxfordshire is now the principal home of the Gilletts, but the name is also found in Kent. In Lincolnshire the name is represented by Gilliart, Gilliatt, and Gillyatt." [3]

"The family may have come with William the Conqueror into England, from Gillette, a town in Piedmont, France. Gillette, the son of Giles." [4]

Early Origins of the Gillett family

The surname Gillett was first found in Oxfordshire, but also many other shires throughout ancient Britain. Listed as both a forename and surname in many early rolls, the name quickly spread.

This tradition continued even until the 14th century where the Yorkshire Polls Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Thomas Taylour et Gillot uxor ejus; Robertus Lyster et Gillot' uxor ejus; Gillote Fox; Johannes Gilotson; Willelmus Gilliote; Johannes Undyrhyll et Gyllot' uxor ejus; Willelmus Gehot; and Johannes Gylyott. [5]

Early History of the Gillett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillett research. Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gillett Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Gillett include Gillette, Gilliott, Gillet, Gillott, Gillett and others.

Early Notables of the Gillett family (pre 1700)

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

Gillett Ranking

In the United States, the name Gillett is the 7,837th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Gillett is ranked the 767th most popular surname with an estimated 55 people with that name. [7]

United States Gillett migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Gilletts to arrive on North American shores:

Gillett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jonathan Gillett, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1630 [8]
  • Matthew Gillett, who arrived in America in 1633 [8]
  • Jonathan and Nathan Gillett sailed in the "John and Mary" and settled in Dorchester in 1635 where they became Freemen
  • Jon Gillett, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • Elizabeth Gillett, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gillett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Gillett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]

Canada Gillett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gillett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Gillett, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • Amey Gillett, who landed in Canada in 1839

Australia Gillett migration to Australia +

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

Gillett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Christain Gillett, British house keeper who was convicted in Hampshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1876 [9]
  • Mr. James Gillett, (b. 1773), aged 49, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 14 years for forgery, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. Thomas Gillett, (b. 1786), aged 47, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for life, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 14th October 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Thomas Gillett, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asia" in 1839 [12]
  • Margaret Gillett, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asia" in 1839 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gillett 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:

Gillett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Robert Gillett, who landed in Kapiti, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mary Gillett, aged 25, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Ann Gillett, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Martha Gillett, aged 7 mths., who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Miss Dinah Gillett, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lincoln" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 19th July 1867 [13]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gillett (post 1700) +

  • James B. Gillett (1856-1937), American lawman of the Old West
  • Ezra Hall Gillett (1823-1875), American clergyman and author
  • Emma Gillett (1852-1927), American lawyer and women's rights activist
  • Burton F. Gillett (1891-1971), director of animated films
  • Frederick Huntington Gillett (1851-1935), American politician
  • James Norris Gillett (1860-1937), American lawyer and politician
  • E. Samuel Gillett, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Burlington; Elected 1904 [14]
  • E. B. Gillett, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1856 [14]
  • Daniel Gillett, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Madison County, 1832 [14]
  • Cecil Gillett, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1940 [14]
  • ... (Another 41 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. George P Gillett (b. 1916), Canadian Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Humber Mouth, Bay of Islands, Newfoundland, Canada, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [15]

Suggested Readings for the name Gillett +

  • The Joseph Gillet/Gillett/Gillette Family of Connecticut, Ohio and Kansas by Wilma Gillet.
  • Our Pilgrim's Progress: A Genealogy; The Gillets, Gilletts, Gillettes of 1634 Windsor, Connecticut Down Thru Nine Generations to the Present, 1988 by Julius L. Ross.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st September 2022).
  12. State Library of South Australia. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) ASIA 1839 from London with Captain Benjamin Freeman and 245 passengers, arrived Port Adelaide on 16-07-1839. Retrieved from
  13. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  14. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from
  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 on Facebook