Gillinhan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Gillinhan reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Gillinhan family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gillinhan 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 Gillinhan family
The surname Gillinhan 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."  The Dillingham variant originates in Dullingham (the village of Dulla's people), in Cambridgeshire.   Today the Gillingham variant is fairly rare while the Dillingham is preferred.
Early History of the Gillinhan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillinhan 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 Gillinhan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gillinhan Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Gillingham, Gillam, Gwilliams, Gilham, Dillingham and many more.
Early Notables of the Gillinhan 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 Gillinhan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gillinhan family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Gillinhan name or one of its variants: 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.
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- 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, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print