What is the origin of the last name Gillespie?

The last name Gillespie is of Scottish origin, specifically derived from the Gaelic name Gilla Easbaig, which translates to "servant of the bishop." The name traditionally denoted a person who served as an attendant or follower to a bishop or held a prominent role within the church. Over time, variations of the name emerged, such as Gillesby and Gillepsie, before settling into the current spelling of Gillespie.

Countries of origin for the last name Gillespie

The last name Gillespie is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Gaelic name “Mac Gille Easbaig,” which means “son of the bishop’s servant.” It is a patronymic surname, indicating that it was originally used to identify the sons of a specific man. While the exact origins of the name are not entirely clear, it is likely that it was initially used to identify individuals who served as assistants or servants to bishops in Scotland.

One notable feature of the Gillespie surname is its prevalence in Scotland and among individuals of Scottish descent. The name has deep historical roots in the country and is associated with the Gaelic-speaking population. Over time, Gillespie families migrated to other parts of the world, particularly during times of political and economic upheaval in Scotland.

Many individuals with the last name Gillespie have made significant contributions in various fields. For instance, David Gillespie was a Scottish Jacobite who fought in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, supporting the Stuart cause. In the United States, Edward Gillespie served as the Counsel to the President during the George W. Bush administration.

The Gillespie surname has evolved over time, leading to variations in spelling and pronunciation. Common variations of the name include Gillispie, Gillispe, Gillaspy, and Gilaspi. These variations may have developed as a result of regional dialects, misspellings, or anglicization of the original Gaelic name.

As with many surnames, there are several theories and anecdotes surrounding the origin and meaning of the Gillespie name. While these stories may provide interesting insights and speculations, they often lack concrete evidence and should be approached with caution. The true origins of the Gillespie surname have been obscured by time and historical documentation limitations.

Overall, the Gillespie surname carries a rich history rooted in Scotland. Its association with the service to bishops and migration to different parts of the world reflects the dynamics of Scottish society and the impact of global events on family names. While the true origins may remain elusive, the Gillespie name continues to serve as a poignant reminder of the intricate web of familial ties and the enduring legacy of individuals who bear this distinguished last name.

Interesting facts about the last name Gillespie

  • The surname Gillespie is of Scottish or Irish origin.
  • It derives from the Gaelic name Mac Gille Easbaig, which means “son of the bishop’s servant” or “servant of the bishop.”
  • Gillespie is a common surname in both Scotland and Ireland.
  • The name has variations such as Gillespy, Gilaspy, Gillage, and Gilaspie.
  • The Gillespie clan can be traced back to the ancient kingdom of Galloway in southwestern Scotland.
  • In Ireland, the Gillespie surname is associated with County Donegal and the province of Ulster.
  • There are notable individuals with the surname Gillespie, including jazz trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie, as well as actress and model Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • Gillespie is also a prominent name in the field of medicine, with several doctors and researchers carrying the surname.
  • The Gillespie tartan, which represents the clan, features a combination of green, blue, and black.
  • In the United States, the surname Gillespie is most commonly found in states such as North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois.

Name Rank


There are around 42693 people with the last name Gillespie in the US

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