The genetic clues are now taking descendants of Guthrie Family Group 3A on an ancestral journey back to Ayrshire, Scotland.

This group has several American lineages stemming back to colonial times without definitive proof of their ancestral connections on this side of the water. Scattered branches and sketchy clues made it difficult to prove the identity of a common immigrant ancestor. Read the Related/Unrelated blog entry: The Forgotten Sons to learn more about the American branches and the trail of evidence that connects them to one another. Placement of GFG3A’s Branches A, B, D, and E have been made based upon the findings of this collaborative research.

Recent matches have provided interesting clues that may help bridge those family ties to Scotland. How does a colonial American family connect with a Guthrie line from New Zealand? Its family traces directly back to Ayrshire, Scotland. Another line descending from that same branch reaches back to North America, but this time to Ontario, Canada during the 1800s.

The furthest known ancestor of our NZ participant was born in Scotland in 1763. The Canadian line is from the 1800s, but attaches directly into the NZ family’s ancestral line leading back to Ayrshire. The earliest of the American lineages died in 1755, and was already settled in colonial Pennsylvania by the 1730s. That tells us the most recent common ancestor for all GFG3A lineages will be found back in Scotland, and most likely in Ayrshire no earlier than the late 1600s.

Research and future DNA matches may provide some answers as to those family connections.

The most common surname matches for this group are Guthrie, Gray, and Gossett.



Submissions welcome.


  • Descendants of Robert Guthrie 1727PA-1789VA & Esther Giles
  • Descendants of John Guthrie c1760SCT?/VA & Mary Fuller
  • Descendants of James Guthrie c1775-1850VA & Elizabeth Casdorph
  • Descendants of Alexander Guthrie 1777/8PA-1850IN & Eleanor (MNU)
  • Descendants of Robert Guthrie 1777VA-1853OH & Frances Fowler
  • Descendants of William Guthrie 1763SCT-1844SCT & Ann Hunter

Robert Guthrie was born in 1727, possibly in Ireland or Pennsylvania. He was probably a son of Francis Guthrie of Colerain Twp, Lancaster County, PA. A Robert Guttery appeared on a 1756 Tax list for Colerain Twp just beneath the entry for Francis. ‘American Guthrie and Allied Families’ author Laurence R. Guthrie theorized a father and son relationship between the two. 

His marriage to Esther Giles most likely took place in PA, and the family later moved to Maryland where Robert jointed the Maryland Militia in Elizabeth Town (Elizabeth Hundred). The family was enumerated in the 1776 census of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert’s records for the next 12 years are found in Rockbridge County, VA, and Washington County, Maryland.

Was there really an Ireland connection, or is that just rumor based on Francis Guthrie’s theorized connection to Guthrie Family Group 2?  

John Guthrie was born about 1756. Project members identify John Guthrie as the son of Robert Guthrie & Esther Giles. His marriage to Mary Fuller is reported to have taken place in Virginia about 1783, an estimate based on the birth of their eldest son. Our two participants from this line descend from their son William Guthrie 1794VA-1876IN & Elizabeth Rigney.

James Guthrie was born about 1775/6. One family biographical sketch tells us that his parents were Andrew Guthrie & Mary Robertson. The book lists no source for the family data, which sheds some doubt on its veracity. The connection requires verification. Census data indicates that James Guthrie was born in Maryland, and that location is among other GFG3A residences.

James married Elizabeth Casdorph (written as James Gullory and Elizabeth Castor in the marriage record) in Kanawha County, Virginia (Now WV) and permanent settled there. They appear to have had 9 children: Henson, Elijah, Mary, Nancy, Martha, Sarah, James, John, and Julia Ann.

Alexander Guthrie was born about 1777-1778 in Pennsylvania. His wife was Eleanor Amis. This family was located in Kentucky by 1803. They lived in Mason County, Kentucky and should not be mistaken for the Alexander Guthrie family living in Woodford, Kentucky. Moving to Ohio by 1830, the family moved again by 1840 to Marion County, Indiana.  

Robert Guthrie was born in Virginia about 1778. He married Frances Fowler, and they had 6 known sons and 1 daughter. Their son Preston Guthrie 1816-1866 is the ancestor of our project participant. Robert & Frances resided in Cabell County, Virginia. The family moved to Lawrence County, Ohio after the 1850 census. 

This lineage is unique within the project as its path originated in Scotland and immigrated to New Zealand. The furthest proven ancestor is William Guthrie born 1763 SCT, and died 29 May 1844 in Auchans House, Ayrshire, Scotland. He was twice married. 
Wife#1: Ann Hunter
Children: George, John William, Ann, Margaret, and James
Wife #2: Jacobina McClure
Children: George, Agnes, Robert, Jacobina, and David 

The line of our participant continues via William & Ann’s son William Guthrie b1791 & Susan Good, to their son James Guthrie b1814 & Isabella Mcintyre, to their son Robert Guthrie b1857 before leaving Scotland for New Zealand in the late 1870s. 

The newest member of Guthrie Family Group 3A is a man with Gray ancestry. He is one of several by that name who have matching DNA with men from this group, and it is the most common alternate surname among the DNA matches. This suggests a paternal event or adoption indicating that the Gray family probably has some Guthrie DNA, or that this Guthrie Family Group actually carried Gray DNA. Two of his Gray matches trace their Gray paternal ancestry back to Bangor, Down County, Northern Ireland. 


The introduction of the SCT-NZ line may provide a new direction for research for Guthrie Family Group 3A. The challenge is that William Guthrie of Scotland is of approximately the same generation as some of the earlier branch progenitors in VA and PA. This means that the common ancestor between him and the rest of the group ancestors is even further back.

A biographical sketch on the family of GFG3-Branch A’s James Guthrie identifies a set of parents: Andrew Guthrie & Mary Robertson, but does it have any basis in fact? No. When an assessment is made this appears to be a false finding. There is no known connection that leads back to Thomas Guthrie and Janet Doig as was once theorized. The project member who thought his line descended from that one did not, therefore that line actually has no known Y-DNA status at this time, nor any known connection to the lineages in Ayrshire.

Is This Your Piece of the Puzzle?

Are you a direct descendant or closely associated with the family? Provide more details for the biographical sketches to personalize them. If you want to write a more comprehensive report on your family, family group, or contribute research findings, reading and resource data, etc, message me with the details.

Sharyn Guthrie
Rachelle Child
Diana Guthrie


  1. I just found the death date for my 3 gtgrandma, Jane E Shelton [Guthrie]. She married Robertson Shelton in Giles Co.VA in 1816. One sister’ married Phillip Ballard before 22 Nov. 1811 the date of birth of their son Robertson Shelton Ballard in Logan Co. VA On 01 Aug. 1819 in Logan Co. Jane and Robertson had their first son Sylvester. It states that Phillip’ mother was a Robertson also. Seeing that these families all moved to Indiana, Henry, Rush and Blackford Co’s we find Robertson Shelton, Gordon Ballard and Robertson Ballard witnessing Wills.Phillips wife was Eleanor Guthrie with children, Cyrus Austin, Mary Jane, Thomas Griffith, Chrales Henry and William Rogers.I can comfortably assume that Robertson Shelton Ballard was named in honor of Phillips brother-in-law. Jane E. Guthrie was born in Maryland the daughter William with her sister Martha ‘Patsy’ marring Martin Moody in 1808. Martha was born in Bedford Co VA in 1886. My quest here is find more about William. Craig Holland

    • Jane Guthrie & Robertson Shelton are new names for me. There are no current members of the Guthrie DNA Project listing them as ancestors, nor do I show them listed in my extensive Guthrie Research tree. Which basically means now I need to learn more. Random trees show Jane as the daughter of William Guthrie and Mary Warren Musgrove. This couple is credited with several sons and a daughter named Martha Jane, but I show her listed as being married to a Jesse Stansell rather than a Martin Moody. Martha Jane was not born until 1820, and William & Mary’s other children were estimated to be born sometime after 1809. So my main question is whether Jane is attached to the right parents in these trees. Is there documentation proving Jane and Martha’s father was named William? Have you taken an Autosomal DNA test? It might point toward a particular Guthrie Family Group. The family of William Guthrey & Mary Warren Musgrove remains ungrouped as we do not have descendants from that line participating in the project at this time.

  2. Dear Ann: Thanks for your reply. This past Friday I received a query from a party in Giles Co. Her lore created Guthrie family tree was full of hints and I will forward to her the Robert Guthrie and Esther Giles tree which will make her kin very happy. I have somewhere in my files a mention of William Guthrie being in Frederick Co. Maryland. But I do have a page from 1815 Tax Lists for Giles Co. This lists the family of William Guthrie in 1810 with Jane, Mary, Martha and Eleanor with their respected husbands except Jane who marries in 1816. No I have not taken that DNA test, but I should. Please inform me and eager to hear if anything you find in your recent William Guthrie source.

  3. I don’t see a TN connection for your William Guthrie and children. They appear to have moved to Indiana after his death in Virginia. I don’t have a copy of a 1815 Giles County TN Tax List. The 1812 Tax List has only Robert Guthrie on it. (TNGenWeb). Unfortunately, the Giles County Courthouse burned in 1813 taking its marriage and probate records with it. The county had been formed in 1809 from Maury County, TN, so that could potentially be a place to find clues if they did have ties to Giles County.

  4. I think the discussion is about the William Guthrie family of Logan WV (formerly Giles VA), not TN. As far as I know, this William had no sons and was only in Logan WV for a relatively brief time. I grew up in Giles VA. The query received by Mr. Holland is likely from one of my close relatives, but I don’t know from whom it would have been.

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