Gillinghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Gillinghan reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gillinghan family lived the Old French given name Guillaume. The name Guillaume was modified into two forms after arriving in England: Gillham; from which Gillingham derives; and William. Alternatively, the name could have been a local name as "of Gillingham." In this case, there are three parishes so named in England: a parish in Norfolk, near Beccles; a parish in Dorset, near Shaftesbury; a parish in Kent, near Chatham. 
Early Origins of the Gillinghan family
The surname Gillinghan was first found in Dorset, Norfolk, and in Kent. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Gild de Gillingham in Dorset and Robert de Gyllingham in Norfolk. During the reign of Edward I., Hugh de Gillingham was found in Kent and Robert de Gillingham was found in Norfolk. Richard de Gillyngham, was listed in Somerset, during the reign of Edward III.  Another source claims the Dorset local was the original. "The Gillinghams evidently derive their name from the Dorset town thus called."  We will take a moment to discuss the ancient history of Gillingham, Kent. "This ancient village, which is recorded in Domesday Book by the name of Gelingeham, was much exposed to the ravages of the Danes; and it is said that 600 noblemen, who landed here in the retinue of Alfred and Edward, were murdered upon the spot, by Earl Godwin. Charles I. erected a fort for the protection of the royal dockyard and navy, which, proving ineffectual to resist the Dutch in their celebrated expedition up the river, in 1667, was subsequently enlarged, and distinguished by the name of Gillingham Castle. The church was formerly remarkable for what was deemed a miraculous image of the Virgin, called 'Our Lady of Gillingham,' in a niche over the western door, to which frequent pilgrimages were made." 
Important Dates for the Gillinghan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillinghan research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1735, 1613, 1678, 1625 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Gillinghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gillinghan Spelling Variations
Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Gillinghan family name include Gillingham, Gillam, Gwilliams, Gilham and others.
Early Notables of the Gillinghan family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Gwilliam of Gillham; Theophilus Dillingham (1613-1678), an English churchman and academic, Master of Clare Hall, Cambridge and Archdeacon of Bedford; and Francis Dillingham, English Protestant scholar...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillinghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gillinghan family
To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Gillinghan family to immigrate North America: John Gilham who settled in Barbados in 1680; Susan Gilham settled in Jamaica in 1661; Joseph Gilham settled in Virginia in 1738; Benjamin Gillam settled in Boston in 1630.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.