Gilliland Family Genealogy

Gilliland Family Genealogy

My first Gilliland is Eliza Jane Gilliland, born 1861 in McHenry County, Illinois. She married Lewis H. Jones in Ogle County, Illinois.

Her parents were William J. Gilliland and Anna Elizabeth DeWolf. William was born in County Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1836. Anna was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in 1836. They married in Boone County, Illinois in 1859. I do know William came into the US through Quebec, and that he was in New York for a time before coming to Illinois. What I do not know about either the Gilliland or DeWolf family is how they came to Illinois. Forever, I believed they came through Pennsylvania, then Ohio, then Indiana, until reaching Illinois. And maybe they did. But a couple of years ago someone pointed out to me that many people actually came to Illinois via the Great Lakes route (basically up and over Michigan). This is a completely new piece of information to me, and I wish there was a way to find out which way they did come. As both families settled just outside of the Chicago area before William and Anna married, I tend towards the Great Lakes route. But I can only conjecture at this point. Anna and William died in 1912 and 1925 respectively, and are buried in Frontier County, Nebraska in the middle of a corn field.

William’s father may have been Samuel Gilliland, born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is in the right place (McHenry County, Illinois) and the right age (1798-1887) to be William’s father, and many genealogists have accepted him as such, but no proof as of yet.

That’s all I have on our Gillilands. Since they have direct connections to two countries (Ireland and Scotland) it may be that an international search is all that will turn up definitive data. But I am hoping some more details will come out when I visit Illinois this summer. I have heard wonderful things about the Boone County Historical Society, and can’t wait to check it out!

2 thoughts on “Gilliland Family Genealogy

  1. My grandfather’s mother was a Gilliland born in or near Belfast. I was always told that the family were of Huguenot origin (ie persecuted Protestants from France) who presumably went to Northern Ireland because of linen weaving. The graves of many of the family are in Carnmoney north of Belfast. I know little about the family except that there was an uncle of my father called John Gilliland (must have been born in the 1890s) who was an architect and a cousin/second cousin called Helen Gilliland who was an actress/singer with the D’Oyly Carte Opera company. She died in 1942 aboard a troop ship which sank near Japan. Hope that is of some use!

    Eileen Watson Thomas

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