Welcome to my Gillespie Family History website. This site was originally established as a way to record my genealogy research so that other Gillespie researchers would be able to find me and we could share our knowing. But it has slowly become more than that. People who are not researchers per se, but who are most definitely my Gillespie relations have been finding me by way of my blog (see link on this page). Even though the blog is also geared at recording my research experiences and discoveries, there are those relations trying to read between the lines to see "Is this MY family?" So I have decided to make the answer to that question a little more obvious by making this page a summary about my line of Gillespie family. If you find yourself here and any of this looks familiar and you want to know more, please feel free to contact me.

First Generation

We can trace our Gillespie family to Armagh, Ireland in the late 1700s. Townlands of interest include Lisnadill, Drumgaw, Cavanacaw, Ennislare, and Roghan in Armagh, and Emyvale in Monaghan. Our family story is that the family came from Glasgow, Scotland before coming to Northern Ireland, but we have not been able to establish any firm connections there yet.

Our progenitor is known to be JOHN GILLESPIE, thought to be born around 1760 in Armagh, Ireland. John's first wife remains unnamed. Their known children, born between 1780-1800, were Nancy, Jane, Elizabeth, and Thomas. We believe there might have been another son named John born during this time who could be the one mentioned in family lore as having lived to be 102 years old.

The second wife of John Gillespie was Sarah or Jane (or Sarah Jane?) WOODS. The children from the second marriage were born between 1800-1812, and include Sarah, Robert, James, and Alexander.

Second Generation

Thomas Gillespie, a son of John Gillespie's first marriage, remained in Northern Ireland, a resident of Cavanacaw. He married Margaret Johnston.

Two daughters from John Gillespie's first marriage married Greer brothers in Ireland, and along with another Gillespie sister they emigrated to America around the time of the War of 1812, settling in the Ulster/Dutchess/Orange County area of New York. These Gillespie's include:

  • Nancy Gillespie who married a GREER, probably of the name Robert. The Greer husband must have died while in NY, and Nancy remarried to somebody named Thomas Gillespie, who I suspect might have been a cousin as we can so far not establish his relation to our line
  • Jane Gillespie who married James GREER, a brother of the previously mentioned Greer
  • Elizabeth Gillespie whose story is still somewhat of a mystery

We know that these Gillespies lived in New York about 20 years as we have found a few records of them having children and becoming naturalized. Then in the early 1830's they migrated to Oakland County, Michigan where they are recorded as being among the early pioneers there.

Then come the children of John Gillespie's second marriage, who all emigrated to Quebec, Canada:

  • James Gillespie who married MARY ORR JAMIESON, emigrated around 1837
  • Sarah Gillespie who married JOHN SMITH, emigrated around 1839
  • Alexander Gillespie probably emigrated around 1840, but he contracted typhoid on the ship and died at a Quebec hospital shortly after arrival
  • Robert Gillespie who married ELIZABETH DONALDSON, emigrated around 1847

Of these, Robert Gillespie, who must have been in touch with his half-siblings in Michigan, removed his family from Quebec to the same area of Oakland County, Michigan around 1855. When Elizabeth Gillespie died in Michigan in 1857, her probate records explicitly name her heirs-at-law as siblings Jane Greer, Nancy Gillespie, and Thomas Gillespie and half-siblings James, Robert, and Sarah.

Third Generation

Here is a list of each second-generation Gillespie, and surnames related to their offspring:

  • Nancy Gillespie Greer, 1780-1872: SLATER
  • Jane Gillespie Greer, 1784-1868: GILLESPIE (another line), LEMON, MCLAGAN, MCCLUNG, OGDEN, LOOMIS
  • Thomas Gillespie, 1785-1875, of Cavanacaw, m. JOHNSTON, BELSHAW, MAGENNIS, FERGUSON, MURRAY, WOODS, WEBSTER
  • Elizabeth Gillespie, 1787-1857: no known progeny
  • Sarah Gillespie Smith, 1804-1901: WOODS, PRICE, CALBACK, CARMICHAEL
  • Robert Gillespie, 1806-1871: BEESLEY, HUSTED, WINSLOW, PARKER, GREER
  • Alexander Gillespie, 1812-1840: no known progeny

So if you are researching Gillespie family with origins in Armagh, and North American roots in New York, Quebec, or Michigan, and you are associated with any of the surnames listed here, we could very well be related. Please feel free to contact me as I am happy to make new connections and share what we each know about this wonderful Gillespie family!

Last Updated on April 11, 2022