Gilbourne Trees

including Gillborn, Gilborn, Gilborne, Gilbourn, Gilburn etc

Latest update - January 2022

Update details

The Name

Gilbourne is a relatively uncommon name, and is generally thought to be a variant of the more common name Kilbourne,. which itself is a derivative of the place name KILBURN. There are three villages with this name in England - one in North London, one in North Yorkshire, and the third in Derbyshire. It is not unreasonable to think that the name spread from England to the rest of the world. The only exception to this is the four known cases of the name being adopted by immigrants to England or to the United States as anglicisations of their original name.

Geographical Distribution

The earliest known occurrence of the name is in the Annals of Nottinghamshire, where it is recorded for 1310 that "William Gilburn and John Lambok, burgesses, [were] elected to serve in parliament."
The next known occurrence of the name is in Yorkshire. The Visitation of Kent recorded in 1630 that the ancestors of Sir Nicholas Gilborne of Kent, and Sir Edward Gilborne of London, came from Yorkshire. The first date it records is the burial of Alice Gilborne in1579 in London, followed by her husband William in 1582. The family tree however goes back another four generations to John Gilborne and his wife Jane. John is described as 'of Co. Ebor' (i.e. Yorkshire) and Jane as 'of Erswick, Co. Ebor', and the next two generations are described as 'of Erswick.' The Yorkshire parish records show a number of baptisms, marriages and burials between 1540 and the middle of the 18th century. While a number of these have been arranged into small family trees, none can be matched to the tree given in the visitation, and it is not obvious why the frequency of events is greatly reduced after the middle of the 18th century. The tree given in the Visitation of 1630 has been extended past that date by Sir William Betham, and further extended using parish records of London and Kent, and various other sources, by this author, and is shown here as Tree 8. Sir William Betham has extended the tree using a number of sources, including wills from Ireland that are no longer available, having been destroyed by fire in 1917. He has indicated one branch of the tree migrated to Ireland, though the exact link is not known, being shown as a dotted line. This is believed to be the origin of the Gilbourne name in County Limerick, Ireland, - a name which is still evident in the county today (Tree 9.)

About the same time the name appeared in Co. Limerick, a second concentration of the name was found in County Laois (known as Queen's County at that time) in Ireland and Dublin. It is not clear whether these were closely related to the Gilbournes in Limerick, or indeed, whether they descended from the Gilbournes in Kent and London at all. While the Gilbournes in Limerick were primarily Roman Catholic, the family in Laois and Dublin (Tree 6) were Protestant. Emigration from both groups in Ireland led to the name being found in the United States and Australia.

A local history project has identified a pocket of the name in the small county of Rutland. Apparently already established when the first parish records were recorded, about 90 birth marriage and death events have been established, but again the name disappears at the end of the 18th century. A few of these names have been arranged in small Trees (Tree 11)

A concentration of the name in Nottinghamshire in the 19th Century has resuted in the formation of three trees. The first (Tree1) is my own family tree and the largest contiguous tree constructed to date. The spelling of the name is generally Gilbourne, although as always varied considerably in earlier years. and in some cases has been somewhat surprisingly found as Gil(l)man. The name arrived in Nottinghamshire from Derbyshire, but the oldest ancestor so far traced, is from neighbouring Staffordshire. Nicholas Kilburn and wife (unnamed) baptised a son, Robert, in Ellastone Staffoirdshire, in 1686/7, but Mary's burial in 1700 records her as 'the wife of Nicholas Gilburne', and Nicholas's burial in 1716 is recorded as Gilbourn and the name thereafter is always with a 'G.' [There are earlier entries in the Ellastone parish records with the name Gilbourne or Kilbourne, but these have not yet been linked to the main tree.
No Gilbournes from this tree are known to have emigrated.

The seond tree constucted from the names found in Nottinghamshire, is based almost entirely in the city of Nottingham, and generally spelled the name as Gillborn. All are descended from Richard Gillborn. With no link found betwee the two trees since at least the early 1700's, it is possible that the two trees are independent. The third tree in Nottingham (Tree 3), even thogh they spell their name as Gilborn, is more than likely a branch of tree 2, but this has not been verified.

A series of events have been found in the parish registers of Devon, particularly Stonehouse and Plymouth. It is significant that this is a military base, and it is likely that the individuals are related to the trees in Ireland, Nottinghamshire or Kent and London. They have been grouped together as Tree 4 but it should be remembered that all the trees may not be related to each other.

Another source of the name is the island of Jamaica, in the West Indies. The origin of the two earliest Gilbournes, John and Richard, is unknown but one or both is the source of a tree that stretched from Jamaica, through England, then to Australia, and one then left Australia for the United States. (Tree 5) After Columbus sailed to North America in 1592, it became a destination for huge numbers of immigrants from all over the world and it is not surprising that there were Gilbournes among them. Details are scarce however before the 19th Century, when larger numbers arrived, particularly those escaping the famines in Ireland, or escaping persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia. In earlier versions of this site all those found in the USA were grouped under Tree 7. With the update in 2022 however many have been moved to be grouped with the trees of their home country, where it is known. Most of those are of Irish origin, but one is a Norwegian Family (Tree 12.)

Finally. three families, two in the United States and one in England, who adopted the name after immigration have been grouped together as Tree 11, though it must be remembered that the trees are unrelated to each other. A fourth tree is the result of a name change from Gilliburn to Gilburn in England. A summary of the family groups is given here.

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