Gillinham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Gillinham is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Gillinham 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 Gillinham family
The surname Gillinham 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." 
Early History of the Gillinham family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillinham research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1735, 1611, 1625, 1611, 1613, 1678, 1617, 1689 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Gillinham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gillinham Spelling Variations
Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Gillingham, Gillam, Gwilliams, Gilham and others.
Early Notables of the Gillinham family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Francis Dillingham ( fl. 1611), was an English divine, a native of Dean, Bedfordshire (1625). He was one of the translators of the authorised version of the Bible (1611). 
Theophilus Dillingham (1613-1678), was an English churchman and academic, Master of Clare Hall, Cambridge...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillinham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gillinham family
Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Gillinham or a variant listed above: 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.
Related Stories +
- ^ 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.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print