Gregory


Select Gregory Surname Genealogy

The surname Gregory derived from a personal name that was popular throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages. The Greek original Gregorios came from the word gregorein meaning “to be watchful.”

This Greek name was borne by sixteen Popes, starting with Gregory the Great in the sixth century. 
The Crusades of the 11th and 12th century gave the name another boost. It was the fashion for returning warriors from the Holy Land to christen their children with biblical or saintly names, particularly those that were associated with the early church.  Gregorie was an early spelling.

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Select Gregory Ancestry

EnglandThe Gregory surname was found from early times in the Midlands, notably in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

Derbyshire
.  Henry Gregory was recorded at the village of Eyam in 1295 and the name there has continued untilmodern times.  One line has been traced from John Gregory who married Elizabeth Bishop in Eyam in 1683, having survived the great plague there twenty years earlier.

By that time the Gregory name had spread to neighboring villages in the Derwent Valley such as Calver, Curbar, Froggatt and Stoney Middleton and also to Baslow and Hope.  The Gregory mine in Ashover, owned by the Gregory family at Ravensnest farm, was in the late 18th century one of the most productive lead mines in England.

Leicestershire
.  Gregorys here, perhaps less numerous, have had a longer and probably more illustrious history.  They were recorded as the lords of Asfordby in the late 1100’s and subsequently held manors there and at Freseley nearby in Warwickshire.

Thomas Gregory moved to Coventry as its town clerk in 1528 and the family became sizeable landowners in that area.  His son Arthur took possession of Stivichall House in 1563.  This house remained with the family until 1909 when Major F.H. Gregory died childless.

A later Thomas Gregory moved to Ireland with Cromwell in the 1640’s and started the Anglo-Irish Gregory line.  From another line that had left for Lancashire and then to Nottinghamshire were Henry and Goodie Gregory.  Their son John was an emigrant to the New Haven colony in America around the year 1639.

Elsewhere
.  The Gregory name in Buckinghamshire dates back to the 1300’s when Richard Gregory held Gregory’s Manor in Beaconsfield.  John Gregory, born in Amersham in 1607, was a Biblical scholar who died young.  A later
Gregory family were millers at Amersham from 1746 to 1863.

Sometime in the 1430’s William Gregory from Mildenhall in Suffolk came to London where he prospered as a skinner.  He was its Lord Mayor in 1451 and is remembered today for his written work The Chronicle of London.


“In 1465 William Gregory made his will by which it appears that he had been three times married (his wives being named Joan, Julian, and Joan respectively) and had nine grandchildren, seven by one daughter and two by another.”

In Cornwall the spelling could be Gregor.  The earliest recorded here was John Gregor at Tregew in Fiock in a marriage settlement of 1342.  These Gregors in Cornwall rose to some prominence in the 16th and 17th centuries as merchants in Truro.  Their principal home was Trewarthenick House which remained with the family until 1909.

There would appear to have been a north-directing trend for Gregorys during the 19th century.  By the time of the 1881 census, almost 20% of the Gregorys in England were located in Lancashire.  There was at that time a particular concentration in the area around Bolton, in villages such as Westhoughton and Hindley.


Scotland
.  Gregorius appeared in early 12th century registers, Gregorie in 16th century Aberdeen records.  Today the Gregory surname is most prevalent in NE Scotland. 

James Gregorie, a saddler, had married Margaret Barber in Aberdeen.  Their son John, born in 1598, became a minister at Drumoak and was the forebear of the famous Gregory family of Aberdeen which extended through the generations for nigh on two hundred years. The main lines went through:
  • John’s elder son David who inherited the family estate at Kinairdry.   
  • and a younger son James, a famous mathematician who is credited with the discovery of calculus.
The Gregor name in Scotland came from clan Gregor, the MacGregor Highland clan.  Some clan members changed their name to Gregory when that clan was proscribed and outlawed in the 18th century.

Ireland
.   Thomas Gregory from Asfordby served with Cromwell in Ireland and his family remained there.  His great grandson Robert Gregory went out to India in the 1750’s and made his fortune as an East India Company merchant.  On his return in 1768 he purchased the Coole Park estate in Galway. 

Robert’s line continued through his third son William, who served as Civil Under-Secretary for Ireland, and William’s grandson Sir William, appointed Governor General of Ceylon.  Sir William’s second wife Augusta, Lady Gregory, became more famous than her husband.  She embarked on a literary career and was one of the central figures of the Irish literary renaissance.  Coole Park was sold in 1927, just before her death.


America.
  John Gregory, a shoemaker by trade, had come to the New Haven colony and, around 1655, was a founding settler of the town of Norwalk, Connecticut.  His 19th century descendants in Norwalk included:
  • Francis Hoyt Gregory, an officer in the US Navy from the War of 1812 to the Civil War.
  • and Ira Gregory, a physician and state legislator.  His son James was Surgeon General for Connecticut in 1882, his granddaughter Alyse a writer and suffragette.
Gregorys in the South.  However, many more Gregorys were to be found in the South.  Their numbers included old John Gregory of the Piscataway Baptist church in New Jersey who had moved with his sons south to South Carolina by the 1740’s.  Samuel Gregory of this family moved to Georgia in 1799. 

Richard Gregory from London had come to Flowerdew Hundred in Virginia sometime in the 1630’s.  His descendants stayed in Virginia or migrated to Tennessee after the Revolutionary War.  Two other Gregory families in Virginia, unrelated, moved to Union county, South Carolina in the late 1700’s.

John Gregory, born in Virginia, moved to Missouri in the 1830’s and farmed in Lewis county.  His son Alexander headed to Texas after the Civil War and then to Oklahoma at the time of the land grab there.  Edward Gregory from Virginia meanwhile had settled in Wayne county, Kentucky by the early 1800’s. 

Another Gregory line began with the birth of Jesse Gregory in Onslow county, North Carolina in 1791.  He moved to Gadsden, Florida in 1824.  His son Jason started a tobacco and cotton plantation at Ocheesee Landing in the 1840’s. 

“The Gregory House at Ocheesee was started in the fall of 1847 and finished two years later.  It faced the river and sat on eight-foot brick pillars to keep it above the water when the river got out of its banks.  The house was built in the Greek Revival style, as were many of the plantation houses of the time.”

After the Civil War Jason managed to keep the plantation going until 1873 when he moved the Gregory family to Gainesville.  He and most of his family perished from the yellow fever that struck Florida in 1888.

Canada
.  John Gregory from London was a pioneer fur trader in Canada, arriving there in 1773 and soon becoming active in the Canadian West.  He joined the NWC trading company in 1790 and lived in some style in Montreal until his death in 1817.  


Australia
.  Joshua Gregory from Nottinghamshire, in poor health after his retirement from the British army, was an early settler in Western Australia in 1829.  He died there nine years later.  But he left five sons, two of whom – Augustus and Francis – became famous Australian explorers. 

Two Gregory convicts who came to Australia were: 
  • Henrietta Gregory from London who arrived in Sydney in 1814, but only lived another five years.  Her son Edward, brought up in an orphanage, was the progenitor of the remarkable Gregory cricketing family.
  • and William Greaves alias Gregory from Derbyshire who was transported there in 1833.  A resident of Newcastle, NSW after obtaining his Ticket of Leave, he was one of the pioneers of Australia’s Mid North Coast.  
Select Gregory Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


Select Gregory Names

William Gregory was Lord Mayor of London in 1451 and is remembered today for his The Chronicle of LondonJames Gregory was a 17th century Scottish mathematician, credited with the discovery of calculus.  He was a contemporary and friend of Isaac Newton.  
O
linthus Gregory was an English mathematician, author and editor in the early 19th century.  He was one of the founders of the Royal Astronomical Society.  
Augustus and Frank Gregory
were intrepid explorers of the Australian outback in the mid-19th century.  

Dick Gregory
 was an African-American comedian and civil rights activist prominent in the 1960’s.

Select Gregorys Today
  • 39,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 34,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 13,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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