Gilmour History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Gilmour family lived among the Strathclyde-Briton people in the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for a devotee of the Virgin Mary. Looking back further, we find the name Gilmour was originally derived from the Gaelic Gille Moire, which means follower of Mary or servant of Mary. [1]

As an occupational name, the family was known as "the bearer of the broadsword to a Scottish chief." [2] or "follower of the chief, one who carried the chief's broadsword, from gille, a servant, and mor, large, great." [3]

Early Origins of the Gilmour family

The surname Gilmour was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early records from Cumberland show that between 1133 and 1156, Gilmor, son of Gilander founded the chapelry of Treverman (later Trierman) in the parish of Walton, Cumberland, site of Triermain castle. "The chapel was constructed of wattlework (capetta de virgin), and on its completion Gilmor appointed his kinsman Gillemor to the chaplaincy. These names, it may be mentioned, attest the strong Gaelic influence in Cumberland at that period." [4]

Gilmore meaning "Gill the Big" was son of Gillanders the great Chief who lived about 1140.

"Some time before 1144 'Gillemor filius Gilleconel' granted a half mark of silver to the church of S. Machute in Lesmahagow (Kelso, 187). Gillemure Albanach ('the Scot') and Gillemure mac Blancard witnessed the donation of the church of Torpennoth, etc. to Holyrood by Uchtred, Lord of Galloway, between 1153-65." [4]

Early History of the Gilmour family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilmour research. Another 348 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1190, 1200, 1190, 1211, 1250, 1250, 1316, 1270, 1304, 1572, 1605, 1671, 1661, 1671, 1628, 1641, 1661 and are included under the topic Early Gilmour History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilmour Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Gilmour has been spelled Gilmour, Gilmore, Gilmur, Gilmor, Gilmer and many more.

Early Notables of the Gilmour family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir John Gilmour of Craigmillar (1605-1671), Lord President of the Court of Session 1661-1671. He was the son of John Gilmour, writer to the signet and was bred to his father's profession, but on 12 Dec. 1628 he was admitted an advocate. "His professional connection lay among the royalist party...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilmour Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gilmour family to Ireland

Some of the Gilmour family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gilmour migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Gilmour Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Gilmour, who landed in New Jersey in 1685 [5]
Gilmour Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Gilmour, aged 45, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774 [5]
Gilmour Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Gilmour, aged 15, who landed in Delaware in 1803 [5]
  • Samuel Gilmour, aged 20, who landed in Delaware in 1803 [5]
  • John Gilmour, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [5]
  • Mary Gilmour, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [5]
  • Patrick Gilmour, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1813 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gilmour migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilmour Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catharine Gilmour, aged 38, who arrived in Quebec in 1821
  • James Gilmour, who landed in Canada in 1821
  • Jane Gilmour, aged 23, who arrived in Quebec in 1834
  • Nancy Gilmour, aged 20, who arrived in Quebec in 1834
  • Robert Gilmour, aged 35, a weaver, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Quebec" from Glasgow, Scotland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gilmour migration to Australia +

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

Gilmour Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Agnes Gilmour, (McGilvray), Scottish Convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Christian Gilmour, (McGilvray), Scottish Convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • John Gilmour, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839 [7]
  • Bernard Gilmour, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849 [8]
  • Elizabeth Gilmour, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gilmour 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:

Gilmour Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Gilmour, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [9]
  • Mr. James Gilmour, (b. 1862), aged 4 months, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [9]
  • Mr. John Gilmour, (b. 1836), aged 26, British shepherd travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [9]
  • Mrs. Agnes Gilmour, (b. 1837), aged 25, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [9]
  • Miss Ellen Gilmour, (b. 1839), aged 23, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilmour (post 1700) +

  • Sir John Gilmour (1912-2007), 3rd Baronet, Scottish Conservative Party politician, Member of Parliament for East Fife (1961 to 1979)
  • Sir John Gilmour (1876-1940), 2nd Baronet, Scottish Unionist politician, Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Sir John Gilmour (1845-1920), 1st Baronet, Scottish Unionist politician
  • Sir David Robert Gilmour (b. 1952), 4th Baronet, Scottish author
  • Bill Gilmour (b. 1939), Scottish television director for soap opera Coronation Street
  • John Ingles Gilmour (b. 1896), Scottish Air Force Major and flying ace in WWI
  • Sir John Gilmour (1876-1940), Scottish Unionist politician, Member or UK Parliament, and Scottish Secretary of State
  • Walter Gilmour, Scottish botanist/TV and radio personality
  • Gary "Gus" John Gilmour (1951-2014), Australian cricketer who played in 15 Tests between 1973 and 1977
  • Doug Gilmour (b. 1963), Canadian NHL hockey player, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (2011)
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Gilmour Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Perseveranti dabitur
Motto Translation: It will be given to the persevering.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Lysander.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARRY LORREQUER 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849HarryLorrequer.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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