Guthrie Family Groups

What are Guthrie Family Groups?

  1. Guthrie individuals / families / lineages all descending from a common paternal ancestor.
  2. The groups are genetically unique and not biologically related to any other group on their Guthrie line.
  3. If you have only 1 Guthrie line in your tree, you can only belong to 1 Guthrie Family Group.
  4. Determination of family grouping is confirmed through YDNA testing of Guthrie men (direct paternal line testing).
  5. Lineages with documented association to any YDNA tested line are inferred to belong to that group unless new genetic evidence proves otherwise.

If you’re not sure where your family line belongs, just ask under the ‘Questions’ section.

Y-DNA Testing is the Key.

Direct paternal line testing using YDNA from Guthrie men is the best source for confirming a match to a specific group. Autosomal DNA testing can also provide clues as to group origin, however results might be inconclusive. It is best to test the older generation of the family. A male Guthrie with a single YDNA test may provide all the data needed to identify group origins, while it may take 50+ autosomal tests to find enough matching components to officially triangulate results.

Genetic Mismatches Happen.

Exceptions to the grouping process occur when the paper trail appears to be rock-solid, but YDNA does not match the expected group. These mismatches happen through causal events such as adoption, false paternity, and feudal laws can affect expectations. These genetic diversions can lead to a whole new group being formed if there are many people affected, or to a subgroup of the original.

Ungrouped Families Need Y-DNA.

Untested lineages with a documented paper trail are inferred to belong to their associated group unless a YDNA test proves otherwise. Note that oral traditions about family origins and mistaken identities have led to errors in documentation. DNA testing can correct those misconceptions.

Established Guthrie Family Groups:

The number of Guthrie Family Groups may change over time as new groups are created. There are currently 15 genetically distinct groups. They are not genetically related to one another and therefore do not share any Guthrie ancestry.

GFG1A descendants include the Guthries of Craigie, the Guthries of Middlesex County, Virginia, and the Guthries of Worcester County, Maryland. Likely historically descended from the Guthries of Guthrie, builders of Guthrie Castle, if the genetic line holds.

GFG2A is the largest of all Guthrie Family Groups consisting of 13 major branches with ties to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada and the majority of the American Colonies. Individual branches may share more recent common ancestry than the progenitor of the overall group. The origin story for GFG2A indicates they descend from the Guthries of Pitforthie.

GFG3A includes 2 lineages that trace directly back to Scotland, one found in Angus and the other in Ayrshire. The earliest American branches of this group are found in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland moving on to Ohio and Indiana.

GFG4 lineages seem to point back to a single couple in colonial Virginia, Thomas Guthery & Sarah Oakes. While it is possible that earlier generations of this family remain undiscovered, there is currently no documentation or genetic evidence to support it. This group is the possible result of a Causal Event dating back to the late 1600s to early 1700s.

GFG5’s earliest lineage traces back to William Guthrie & Eleanor Harris Abbott, frequently (and erroneously) linked to another group. For a time, it was considered that William Guthrie might be the result of a Causal Event. New evidence suggests that might not be the case. Instead, they may have a connection to the Guthries of Carteret County, NC. More genetic testing of lineages from that area is required for confirmation.

GFG6 is likely a very old Guthrie family. This group has the most genetic diversity within its own matches suggesting that the most recent common ancestor is very distant. Related lineages are found in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada & the USA: DE, NY, PA, VA.

GFG7 is one of our smaller groups consisting of one American and one Australian line. The most recent common ancestor likely lived in Scotland, possibly in Ayrshire.

GFG8 is likely of Irish origin resulting from a Causal Event with a man of the Vaughan or Roddy/Ruddy surname. The earliest Guthrie lineage for this group is that of Thomas Guthrie & Mary Cason of Halifax County, Virginia, indicating the historical Guthrie line for this family probably originated in Ireland.

GFG9 consists of only one family lineage from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Common surname matches are to Green and Padgett, however there are only 2 participants in the group at this time. More participation is needed to determine if the results affect only part of the line or all of it.

GFG10 results from a known adoption into the Guthrie family of Bull’s Gap in Eastern Tennessee. Andrew S Guthrie & Isabella Rader’s descendants belong to this group. Surname matches at the Y67 level are Cameron and Perry.

GFG11 includes descendants of George Guthery and Mary Young, and other lineages likely to branch from their direct line. Men from this group match the Ballew/Ballou surname indicating a Causal Event probably in the early to mid 1700s.

GFG12 is another small group of two lineages. One originated in Scotland immigrating to Indiana, while the other came to Ohio by way of Ireland. Chances are that the common ancestor is back in Scotland. The majority of surname matches for these two men is Benbow making this a likely Causal Event from the early to mid 1700s.

GFG13 currently has three connections. One from NC/SC/TN, one from SC/GA/AL, and the last from IRE/NY. The most common surname match is Gillespie, so this could be the result of another Causal Event, probably from the early 1700s.

GFG14 has three Guthrie participants whose ancestors lived in New York. These men match people of the Joyce surname indicating another Causal Event, probably dating back to the early to mid 1700s.

GFG15 is associated with the Guthrie families from Adams County and Brown County, Ohio. Their common ancestor is likely to be Joseph Guthrie of Adams County, Ohio, who also lived in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

GFG16: Lineages from Australia and Canada trace their Robert Guthrie 1776 Dunbartonshire, Scotland – 1827 Lanarkshire, Scotland & Janet Andrew.

GFG17: Lineages from Menmuir & Cortachy in Angus, Scotland theorized to descend from David Guthrie and Janet Stewart in Cookston and Balbirnie Mill.


More details on each Guthrie Family Group and their associated lineages can be found on the dropdown menu.

There are many Guthrie families that remain in an “Ungrouped Family Status” because they are not represented by a Direct Paternal Line Male Guthrie. If you don’t find your ancestors listed under one of the established groups, check the Ungrouped section, or use the Contact form or Questions section to ask about your Guthrie line.



  1. My 4th great grandfather was John Shannon and he married Ann Guthrie in Orange County NC in 1784. I found that he had land in Caswell County NC before they moved to Robertson County Tn between 1790 and 1800. Ann’s father is supposed to be James Guthrie. I did find a James Guthrie having land in Orange County NC not far from a Hugh Shannon. My Uncle (Hugh D Shannon) tested with Family tree DNA back in 2009? but I didn’t see our branch listed on this site. My brickwall is John Shannon, i can’t find the correct John before NC. The DNA says that we connect with the Thomas and Agness Shannon families of PA. and then Va. but I can’t find the correct John in there. I found Guthries and Shannons in PA, but I don’t know if they are the correct ones.I have worked with two researchers in NC and been to visit NC two times. If I can really connect my group to PA, I see a trip to there in the future. Thanks for any help you might give! Paula Shannon

    • You share my direct ancestors, James and Elizabeth (MNU) Guthrie. Our line is Guthrie Family Group 2A – Branch A

      Access my Ancestry tree (AnnGU3) for family documents and any details I have on the Shannons. I am at work today but can check for specifics later if you don’t have Ancestry access.

    • Guthrie Family Group 2 has branches (or at least a few twigs) in most of the colonies. Pennsylvania is one of the main areas of settlement for branches that came from both Scotland and Northern Ireland. My branch decided to do things a little differently. Instead of heading for Pennsylvania, James Guthrie arrived in the Baltimore, Maryland area. They were there by 1770 when his second son, Robert Guthrie, was born in that area. By 1781 the family had moved to Orange County, North Carolina and settled in the area of South Hyco Creek. James’ two sons, James and Robert, married a pair of sisters, Jane and Mary Smith. These couples, along with their sisters and their husbands all eventually moved out of North Carolina for parts of Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. James and Robert lived in Robertson County near the Shannons, and later in Sumner County.

      My sister and I have autosomal DNA matches to descendants of 6 of John and Ann (Guthrie) Shannon’s children.

      I have also never successfully identified John Shannon’s parents.

      Your uncle’s Y-DNA would not be applicable to the Guthrie project, but if he also had a Family Finder test done it would be eligible.

  2. I am researching this line of Guthrie’s. I haven’t any DNA tests yet. The earliest ancestor is John Guthrie born 1764 in Scotland. He died 1856 in Giles, TN. His son was Thomas Yoner Guthrie born 1799 in TN. He died in 1875 in Madison Co., AL. His son was James Henry Guthrie born 1860 in AL. He died 1930 in Limestone Co., Al. He married Mary M. Butler in 1882 in Giles Co., TN. I will try and get a male Guthrie to submit his DNA

    • The John Guthrie you mentioned belongs to Guthrie Family Group 9: Descendants of Thomas Guthrie & Jean Duncan of Orkney, SCT, Georgia and South Carolina. It is possible that Thomas Yoner Guthrie is also a descendant as John had several sons of about the right age who remain unidentified in the records. We do have at least 2 descendants of TYG participating in our Autosomal DNA Project, but there is not enough genetic evidence to triangulate a positive group match. The closest autosomal matches are actually to GFG2A-Branch K: Descendants of Robert Guthrie & Elizabeth MNU of SC and GA, which is genetically unrelated to GFG9. If you can find a male Guthrie for YDNA testing that should provide the evidence needed to determine TYG’s origins.

  3. I am stuck trying to trace my tree.
    My great great grandfather was Charles Lewis Guthrie of Florida.
    I’m stuck at Samuel Guthrie and wife Nancy Grieve (???possible name) born 1794 in South Carolina and died 1882 in Florida, having spent some time in Georgia area. According to Cenus records birthdate and place are correct.

    • Hi Sandra,

      This is a case of mistaken identity that has been perpetuated across multiple online trees due to copying errors.

      Many people have confused Samuel Guthrie, son of John Guthrie & Jean Norwood, whose wife Nancy’s maiden name is unknown, with the Samuel Guthrie who married Nancy Grieve. John is the son of Thomas Guthrie & Jean Duncan of Guthrie Family Group 9.

      Your ancestor was born in SC, lived in GA and FLA. The line goes Thomas > John > Samuel > Abraham > Jasper > Charles Lewis.

      The Samuel Guthrie who married Nancy Grieve was born in PA and moved to IA. They had sons named Lewis Rife and Charles William, so there may be some confusion for that reason. This family has been Y-DNA tested and matches Guthrie Family Group 2A.

  4. I was trying to trace the site and follow things but I find nothing about a section of Guthrie’s in Michigan. From what I can track it get as far as Elisha f Guthrie from Ohio, but can’t track much before him.

    • Hi Steven,

      If your ancestor is the Elisha Guthrie 1849OH-1921MI who married Mahala Dunlap, he belongs to Guthrie Family Group 2A – Branch F: Descendants of John Guthrie & Abigail Coe with the following line:
      John Guthrie/Abigail Coe > Ephraim Guthrie/Thankful Stone > Ebenezer Guthrie/Abigail Herick > Phineas K Guthrie/Sarah Elizabeth Davis > Simeon Guthrie/Emily Farrington > Elisha Guthrie/Mahala Dunlap. We actually have a couple of YDNA Project Participants who descend from Simeon Guthrie already in the project whose YDNA (direct paternal line DNA) confirms they belong with GFG2A.

Leave a Reply