Scotland view




A study of the earliest Gillespies in Scotland is found in NEWSLETTERS – begins page 13 in opening newsletter.

Where did Gillespies live in Scotland? They were most numerous in Lanarkshire (including Glasgow) and Stirlingshire,  with none in Shetland. The chart provided below lists the individuals in each country every 10 years between 1841 to 1891. Births vs deaths, and arrival or departure of people affect the total number, as one gets a glimpse of Gillespies over 50 years in Scotland’s history.

Scotland Census
COUNTY Census 1841 Census 1851 Census 1861 Census 1871 Census 1881 Census 1891
ABERDEENSHIRE 134 116 165 181 208 213
ANGUS 58 44 58 86 116 122
ARGYLL 139 117 114 130 116 125
AYRSHIRE 96 90 129 104 178 207
BANFFSHIRE 7 4 4 6 0 4
BERWICKSHIRE 3 0 3 8 10 11
BUTE 6 18 17 7 5 7
CAITHNESS 12 3 11 1 4 0
CLACKMANNANSHIRE 67 76 58 50 48 43
DUMFRIESSHIRE 86 134 171 146 99 134
DUNBARTONSHIRE 34 46 64 91 148 140
EAST LOTHIAN 8 9 15 12 11 9
FIFE 64 170 197 195 201 224
INVERNESSSHIRE 15 7 13 7 19 1
KINCARDINESHIRE 15 15 23 31 32 32
KINROSS-SHIRE 0 1 6 6 4 3
KIRKCUDBRIGHSHIRE 36 53 65 99 97 87
LANARKSHIRE 429 548 886 1153 1256 1485
MIDLOTHIAN 202 221 225 284 318 381
MORAYSHIRE 2 3 4 6 3 7
ORKNEY 0 7 5 11 6 7
PEEBLESHIRE 0 0 1 0 7 11
PERTH 79 117 85 94 104 105
RENFREWSHIRE 138 148 225 237 285 320
ROSS & CROMARTY 0 0 10 2 1 0
ROXBURGHSHIRE 2 11 12 15 13 8
SELKIRKSHIRE 0 0 1 1 3 1
SHETLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0
STIRLINGSHIRE 235 379 449 405 448 478
SUTHERLAND 12 0 1 0 8 7
WEST LOTHIAN 13 24 37 43 30 61
WIGTOWNSHIRE 44 31 30 34 28 18
TOTALS 2443 2967 3084 3445 3806 4248


Early Records:

Alexander Gillespie, ship captain, ” from his home in the Fife burgh of Elie, Alexander Gillespie and his wife and business-partner Christian Small, planned their trading ventures. Until 1676, Gillespie voyaged throughout Europe in his ship the Anna – to Norway for timber; into the Baltic for iron, flax, hemp, and oaken boards; London and Rotterdam for manufactured goods and luxury items such as furniture, tobacco, garden seeds, and hoods and bells for hawks. The most profitable cargo for Gillespie – but one which involved the greatest risk and outlay – was wine from Bordeaux, which fetched the best price if it could be unloaded at Leith in time for Hogmany.

Gillespie’s outward cargoes were mainly coal and salt from the Firth of Forth, though occasionally he carried human cargoes too, such as a contingent of ‘sogers’ (soldiers), which he delivered to Dieppe in 1671. Dr Martin believes they were probably about to participate in the projected Anglo-French invasion of Holland.  In 1676 Gillespie went to Rotterdam for six months to supervise the building of a new ship, the James. The James was a larger ship than the Anna, carrying up to 120 tons of cargo, and through her Gillespie amassed the fortune which allowed him, in his final years, to become a country gentleman. None of his descendants followed him into sea- faring careers. One striking piece of evidence of his time in Elie is the remains of the elaborate doorway of his 17th century townhouse, a structure which is known locally as the ‘Muckle Yett’ (great gate), which was retained when the house was rebuilt to form ‘Gillespie House’ in 1870.”  Source: University of St Andrews – more details from link. Researcher Dr Paula Martin.

Additional all Scotland records at bottom of page.


Click on greecoloured words to find records


Births        Marriages        Deaths

Aberdeen Family Histories

Aberdeen Parish Map (shows location of events in yellow)

William Gillespie, Actor, California
William Gillespie, Actor, California

Actor, William Gillespie, 1894-1938 born Aberdeen, buried in California.

Started in Hollywood in the silent era,  His career spanned 1915 top 1938.


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 Angus Parish Map



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ISLE OF ISLAY:    Births          Marriages             Deaths

MAP of Islay Parishes                      MAP Islay Overview

Passenger Lists        Tenants              Researchers   

Isle of Islay:     Travel Tips

In the 13th Century, Donald of Islay founded the MacDonald Clan.”
Dubhgall, the eldest son of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, was the founder of the MacDougall clan.” 

Note: There are more Scottish Gillespies in Ontario, Canada from the Isle of Islay, than any other Scottish location of origin. Most of them arrived during the 1830s, lessening after 1851.  Islay Immigrants to Ontario

Books: Sketches of Islay by William MacDonald, MD;  Islay, Biography of An Island, by Margaret Storrie


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Ayrshire Parish Map



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Berwick Parish Map



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Dumfries Parish Map



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Edinburgh – see MIDLOTHIAN



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Captain John Gillespie, 1610 Kirkcaldy – 1665 in Edinburgh, age 55,  son of Rev John Patrick Gillespie (1573 – 1927) a Presbyterian minister,  & Lilias Simson. Wife Agnes Wilson. Family history through links provided.

Rev George Gillespie
Rev George Gillespie

Another son, Rev George Gillespie, who also became became a minister at the church in Kirkcaldy, led to considerable controversy about 10 years ago with Gillespie researchers, as to links to Delaware. Note: I brought home a cup I bought at the church  with George’s photo on it from my visit to the church in 2014. There was a large display to honour this man. The desire for DNA evidence led to consider digging him up, but in time this passed. Others have carried on the research, and links provided above, help us remember this family line.


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Earliest record for the North of Scotland 1649


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1792 Census of Parish of Balmaclellan



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Biography of Robert Gillespie, Merchant to Canada

City of Glasgow      Births     Marriages         Deaths

                           1841 Glasgow Police Return:

  • Mrs C Gillespie born Scotland, age 60, 26 years in city, 16 Gibson Street, widow, 2 children born, weekly earnings 1.0, Parish relief 1.0, meals 1, Dwelling 14’X 10′  In bad health and has no work
  • Mrs G Gillespie, born Ireland, age 65, 45 years in city, 109 Old Wynd, widow, monthly parish relief 4.6.temp parish relief 1.0, 1 meal. 12′ x 10′ dwelling size. No bed clothes and in ill health.



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City of Edinburgh     Births         Marriages            Deaths                                                    Edinburgh Gillespie Biographies

James Donaldson 1751-1830 married Jane Gillespie. Editor of the Edinburgh Advertiser. Left his fortune to found a school for the poor & deaf children.

James Gillespie Graham 1776-1855 s/o Malcolm Gillespie a writer of Dunblane, became an architech, designed churches and country houses.

William Gillespie of Leith, Scotland
William Gillespie of Leith, Scotland

Portrait of William Gillespie, of Leith, Scotland (Edinburgh).  About 1843 -1847


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Births     Marriages        Deaths

Birth of James Gillespie Graham, 1776-1855, son of Malcolm Gillespie, witer in Dunblane. His father became Sheriff substitute of Dunblane. His mother was Jane Stewart.  James became an architech, designing church and country homes. He married Elizabeth Marjorie Campbell in 1830 in Edinburgh, Scotland. James also became a Justice of the Peace. His residence iwas n Parish of Duddingston, in the east side of Edinburgh, where he had lived for at least 15 years before his death.  Buried Greyfriars Churchyard.


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 Births     Marriages       Deaths



Death: Stanley MELROSE,  On 12th May 2013, after a short illness bravely borne, Stanley, aged 79 years, husband of Jean Gillespie and father and grandfather to his family. Brother to Margaret (McCraw), Andrew and Douglas and the late Alister. Sadly Missed. From Peeblesshire News.


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Stirling Parish Map



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WEST LOTHIAN                      

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Births    Marriages      Deaths

Scotland: Miscellaneous Birth Records

Scotland Gillespie Biographies

Scotland Mining Accidents

Scotland Asylum Patients (many with death dates)

School Records for Scotland (all with birth records)

Total Records:  4