Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

1,482 total views, 1 views today




About the study

My research into this particular surname started about 7 years ago, in about 2004. I was intrigued by my Father's (Gordon Harker Gillyean Morris) two middle names and in particular the 'Gillyean' name.

I had never looked at Family History Research before and in my naivety, I did not realise that these middle names would relate to his grandmothers' maiden surnames.

The name also varied so much in the Parish Registers and census documents that it was at times very frustrating.

Variant names

The registered variants of the name are Gillyean, Gilyon, Gillyan and Gillin. Other variants, that I know of, are Gilling and Gillead.

Name origin

As yet I have been unable to discover the meaning of this surname. The name appears to originate in South Yorkshire and appears to start with the surname Gillinge, changes to Gillin and then to Gillyan. The name seems to split into two distinct forms in the 1770's. Benjamin Gillyon baptised in Fishlake in 1775 appears to be the start of the 'Gillyon' form of the name and the families are based around Beverley and Hull. Benjamin's brother John Gillyon stays in the Fishlake and Thorne area. The Gillyean version of the names originates in the 1870's when two of John Gillyon's grandsons (John and William Gilyon) appear to change their (and their children's) surname to Gillyean.

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 Census there were 11 Gillyons enumerated in the Beverley area, 4 in the Driffield area and 14 Gillyeans in the Thorne area.

In 1907 John Gillyean (nee Gilyon) emigrated to Canada (at the age of 60!) with his wife and 10 children. I am aware of Gillyeans currently living in Canada.


My database currently holds 586 individuals with the surname Gillyon and 71 individuals with the surname Gillyean, with their descendants the database currently extends to 4436 individuals.

I am in the process of including all BMD and Census data in my files.

Of the 586 Gillyon individuals, I have 463 GRO birth indexes.

Of the 71 Gillyean individuals, I have 45 GRO birth indexes.

Of the 586 Gillyon individuals, I have 117 GRO marriage indexes.

Of the 71 Gillyean individuals, I have 45 GRO birth indexes.

This is a work in progress.