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Gibson Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: PANDITE COELESTES PORTAE (Open ye heavenly gates)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family, the Gibsone’s, passed down through the ages. According to Scottish surname historian George Black, the name Gibsone derives from the personal name “son of Gib,” with Gib being a shortened form of the popular medieval name “Gilbert” (which interestingly enough was also a common name for medieval cats). In 1335, Johun Gibson made a significant surrender when he yielded the Castle of Rothesay. Your family rose to prominence in Fife, and the Gibsons of Durie established a remarkable lineage of lawyers when Sir Alexander Gibson was appointed to the Bench with the esteemed title of “Lord Durie” in 1621. The family’s coat of arms is believed to refer to one of the fifteenth-century lairds of Durie who received an armorial grant from the Pope, symbolizing the keys of St. Peter. In 1633, they acquired the barony of Pentland near Edinburgh, where their family mausoleum still stands today.

The Gibsons later became baronets of Nova Scotia. Sir Walter Scott recounted the tale of the alleged kidnapping of Alexander Gibson, a seventeenth-century Lord President of the Court of Session. Legend has it that Willie Armstrong, a member of the notorious Border Reiver family, abducted Lord Durie and held him captive near Moffat in exchange for help in evading the gallows. The kidnapping was orchestrated on the instructions of the Earl of Traquair, who feared the outcome of a land dispute that Durie was set to adjudicate. Scott captured Traquair’s nefarious scheme in his verse, “If auld Durie to heaven were flown, or if auld Durie to hell were gane, or if he could be but ten days stown my bonny braid lands would still be ma ain.” It is believed that the Traquair case was reevaluated, and judgment was ultimately rendered in favor of the earl, presumably leading to the release of Lord Durie. However, when Lord Durie returned to Edinburgh three months later, he was a broken man, and he passed away at Durie in June 1644.

Your family continued to reside at Durie, and while many family members found their final resting place within the barony of Pentland, a dedicated family seat was never constructed there. Sir John Gibson, the sixth Baronet, assumed the additional surname of Carmichael upon inheriting estates through his mother, who was a sister of the Earl of Hyndford. Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael, the eleventh Baronet, served as the Governor of Madras from 1911 to 1912 and Bengal from 1912 to 1917. In recognition of his service, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Carmichael in 1912. The representation of the family later passed to the daughter of the fourth baronet, whose son assumed the name Gibson in 1810, ensuring the continuation of your family’s legacy.

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Family Crest Motto: PANDITE COELESTES PORTAE (Open ye heavenly gates)

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