Lairds, Ministers, & Martyrs

How many of you are here to find royalty, nobility, or someone infamous hanging out in the past generations of your family tree?

It’s a thrill to find noteworthy relatives, but beware. These famous folk have been the wrong leaf on so many family trees it can be difficult to distinguish the correct one. Some prominent Guthrie men and their descendants are no strangers to practically anyone when it comes to being appropriated into unrelated lineages. Verify that your source is legit before making additions to your tree. Treat everything you see as a clue or a guide, and then give it some due diligence with a little basic research first.

Before the advent of genetic genealogy there was a general belief that all people of the Guthrie surname descended from a single family line that stretched back to the Middle Ages. This assumption of relatedness is clear in the earliest written Guthrie family histories. During feudal times families living under the banner of a chieftain often assumed that surname. Living in the same region does not guarantee lineal descent.

Genetics reveal exactly that as there are currently 14 genetically diverse lineages identified by the Guthrie DNA Project. Some have old family ties stretching back to Scotland, Ireland, and/or England. Others are obviously the result of a genetic mismatch in an earlier generation as the result of feudal law, adoption, or non-paternity. A few are holding out for a Guthrie with the right Y-DNA to join the project hoping to find the missing piece to their family’s genetic puzzle.

Even without DNA, some basic research is key to the accuracy of your tree. Before you can claim any historical line as your own it is vital to determine its origins and an accurate line of descent. With that in mind, let’s review some of the Key Players in our historical Guthrie history in order to develop a common resource we can all use, understand how these historical figures are related to one another, and perhaps to ourselves.

Below, you’ll find lineal data on the Guthries of Guthrie and of Craigie. Also discussion about the family of Rev James Guthrie, Martyr of Stirling, and the Guthries of Pitforthie.

If you have alternate information with source data, please submit it in the comment section below. Do the same for any general questions.



THE BARONY of GUTHRIE / LAIRDS of GUTHRIE

Historical Background:
The Guthrie surname has been in existence much longer than the Barony of the same name. About 1178 William the Lion granted the lands of Gutherin to Arbroath Abbey. The family were royal falconers and subsequently purchased the lands. Remember that it was Squire Guthrie who was sent to France in 1299 to bring William Wallace (c1270-1305) back to Scotland.


The Guthrie DNA Project:
There is currently no direct male descendant of the Guthries of Guthrie whose ancestor can be positively traced from Francis Guthrie, 3rd of Gagie, 12th of Guthrie, onward. Francis Guthrie was a cousin of the concurrent line rather than a direct male descendant of the previous laird (John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, 11th of Guthrie), we do not have direct genetic evidence of his lineage. 

For now, it can be inferred that the Y-DNA should be of the same line since they do share common paternal ancestry.  Four to five generations separate these men from their most recent common Guthrie ancestors, Alexander Guthrie, 2nd of Guthrie, & Margaret Lyon.

The Guthrie DNA Project does have a VIP volunteer who descends from the progenitors of the Guthries of Craigie. This lineage has been proven by DNA matches to members of Guthrie Family Group 1A (GFG1A) going as far back as James Guthrie (1669-1711), Merchant, and Christian Scott, who were parents to the 1st Baron Guthrie of Craigie. The closest connection between this lineage and the Guthries of Guthrie is Alexander Guthrie, 2nd of Guthrie, & Margaret Lyon. Therefore, it may be inferred based on this genetic match that the Guthries of Craigie and the Guthries of Guthrie belong to Guthrie Family Group 1A unless future DNA results reveal genetic mismatches within the line.


1st BARON of GUTHRIE: DAVID GUTHRIE
Infeft 1465 – Death 1500
Son of Alexander Guthrie 1st of Kincaldrum and Marjorie (MNU)
Born about 1430s in Scotland
Died after 1474 in Scotland (alternate 1500)
Spouse: Janet Dundas
Children: Alexander (2nd of Guthrie, 3rd of Kincaldrum), Elizabeth
Unknown Partner > Natural Child: Malcolm Guthrie

Historical Note: Sir David Guthrie was armour bearer to the king, captain of the guard, and appointed Lord Treasureer of Scotland in 1461. Responsible for building the original tower house of Guthrie Castle in 1468. A second house was later added, and then the two were linked in 1848 in a baronial style expansion.

2nd BARON of GUTHRIE: ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft by 1500 – Death 1513
Son of David Guthrie (1st of Guthrie, 2nd of Kincaldrum) & Janet Dundas
Born 14 Jul 1460 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Died 9 September 1513 at the Battle of Flodden, Northumberland, England
Spouse: Margaret Lyon
Children: David (d.1513), Alexander (4th of Kincaldrum), John of Hiltoun, Elizabeth, George of Kincreich

Historical Note: Both Alexander and his eldest son David died at Flodden Field in 1513. The title was inherited by David’s eldest son, Andrew.

3rd BARON of GUTHRIE: ANDREW GUTHRIE
Infeft 1513 – Death 15??
Son of David Guthrie & (FNU) MacIntosh
Born est. before 1513 in Scotland
Died 15??
Spouse: Christian Gardyne
Children: Alexander (4th of Guthrie), William of Ravensby

4th BARON of GUTHRIE: ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft 15?? – Death 1587
Son of Andrew Guthrie, 3rd of Guthrie, & Christian Gardyne
Born est 1530s-40s
Died October 1587 in Inverpeffer, Scotland
Spouse: Isobel Wood
Children: Alexander (5th of Guthrie), William of Ravensby, Eastertown, 1st of Gagie, Gabriel

Historical Note: See – Feud.

“The (Gardyne) family had embarked on a long and bloody feud with their neighbors the Clan Guthrie of Guthrie Castle situated 2miles from Gardyne Castle. The feud started in 1558 when Patrick Gardyne of Gardyne stabbed to death his cousin Alexander Guthrie of Guthrie in a fight which precipitated 80 years of fighting and litigation. At times the two families caused considerable disturbance to the King’s peace as their retainers fought pitched battles in the locality. The feud was finally brought to an end when William Guthrie of Guthrie killed Patrick Gardyne 9th Gardyne of that Ilk and his brother as they crossed Inverpeffer Moor.”

5th BARON of GUTHRIE: ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft 1587 – Death c1597
Son of Alexander Guthrie, 4th of Guthrie, & Isobel Wood
Born 1540s-1550s
Died 10 June 1597 in Scotland
Spouse: Agnes Falconer of Halkerton
Children: Alexander Guthrie (6th of Guthrie), William Guthrie (7th of Guthrie), Henry Guthrie

6th BARON of GUTHRIE: ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft c1597 – Death 1616
Son of Alexander Guthrie, 5th of Guthrie, & Agnes Falconer
Spouse: Jean Leighton of Ulishaven
Children: None known, no male issue

Historical Note: Alexander and Jean had no male issue. The succession at his decease went to his brother, William Guthrie

7th BARON of GUTHRIE: WILLIAM GUTHRIE
Infeft 1616 – Disponed 16??
Son of Alexander Guthrie, 5th of Guthrie, & Agnes Falconer
Born 1540s-1550s
Died after 1616
Spouse: Unknown
Children: None known, no male issue

Historical Note: William Guthrie disponed (legally transferred) the title and lands of the Barony of Guthrie to his 3rd cousin once removed, David Guthrie.

8th BARON of GUTHRIE: DAVID GUTHRIE
Infeft 16?? – Disponed 1633
Son of Alexander Guthrie, 6th of Kincaldrum, & Alice Douglas
Great-Grandson of Alexander Guthrie, 2nd of Guthrie, & Margaret Lyon
Born about 1540s-1550s
Died before 25 April 1635
Spouse: Katherine Blair
Children: Alexander Guthrie (8th Kincaldrum), Elizabeth

Historical Note: David’s only son Alexander died before him. David sold the barony of Kincaldrum, and gave the barony over to his brother Patrick Guthrie.

9th BARON of GUTHRIE: REV. PATRICK GUTHRIE
Minister of Towie & Logie Buchan
Infeft 1633 – Death c1635
Son of Alexander Guthrie, 6th of Kincaldrum, & Alice Douglas
Great-Grandson of Alexander Guthrie, 2nd of Guthrie, & Margaret Lyon
Born about 1540s-1550s
Died in 16??
Spouse: Jean Blackwood
Children: Peter Guthrie (10th of Guthrie)

10th BARON of GUTHRIE: PETER GUTHRIE
Infeft 1636 – Disponed 16??
Son of Rev. Patrick Guthrie, 9th of Guthrie, & Jean Blackwood
Born about 1620s
Died in 16??
Spouse: Unknown
Children: Unknown

Historical note: Served heir and disponed the Barony to his 4th cousin once removed, the Rt Rev John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray.

11th BARON of GUTHRIE: RT. REV. JOHN GUTHRIE
Bishop of Moray
Infeft 16?? – Death 1649
Son of Patrick Guthrie (Goldsmith) of St Andrews & Margaret Raitt
Born 1577
Died 23 August 1649 at Guthrie Castle, Forfar, Scotland
Spouse: Nicholas Wood
Children: Bethia (1623), Lucretia, Nicola, John, Andrew, Patrick

Historical Note: The bishop’s three sons all died before their father. His daughter Bethia Guthrie served as his heir, and her husband, Francis Guthrie of Gagie assumed the title and lands of Guthrie.

12th BARON of GUTHRIE: FRANCIS GUTHRIE, 3rd of Gagie
Infeft 1649 – Death 1677
Son of William Guthrie, 1st of Gagie, & Isabella Leslie
Born about 1600
Died about 1677
Spouse: Bethia Guthrie, daughter of Rt. Rev. John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, 11th of Guthrie, & Nicholas Wood
Children: John (13th of Guthrie)

Historical Note: Some sites list Bethia as the person inheriting the title and land from her father. The laws of primogeniture prevented daughters from directly inheriting title and property. The bishop got around this little snag by naming Francis Guthrie, 3rd of Gagie, as his ‘adopted son’ and marrying him to his daughter Bethia. Whether as a son or son-in-law it was Francis Guthrie who received the title and officially owned the land. Bethia Guthrie was still a baroness, but that title came through her husband.

13th BARON of GUTHRIE: JOHN GUTHRIE
Infeft 1677 – Death 1728
Son of Francis Guthrie, 3rd Gagie & 12th Guthrie, & Bethia Guthrie
Born 1640s-1650s in Angus, Scotland
Died about 1728 in Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Cecelia Carnegie
Children: James (14th of Guthrie), Jean (1691), Bathia (1693), Elizabeth (1697), Margaret

14th BARON of GUTHRIE: JAMES GUTHRIE
Infeft 1728 – Death 1752
Son of John Guthrie, 13th of Guthrie, & Cecelia Carnegie
Born after 1680 in Angus, Scotland
Died 11 February 1752 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Margaret Turnbull
Children: John (1705 / 15th of Guthrie), James (1707), Agnes (1710), Georg (1711), Cecill (1713)

15th BARON of GUTHRIE: JOHN GUTHRIE
Infeft 1705 – Death 1776
Son of John Guthrie, 14th of Guthrie, & Margaret Turnbull
Born about 3 April 1707 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Died 9 August 1776 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Jean Hodge m. 1732
Children: John Guthrie (1735 / 16th of Guthrie), Jean, Margaret

See Matriculation Document: 1779. John Guthrie of Guthrie (Coats of Arms).

16th BARON of GUTHRIE:  JOHN GUTHRIE
Infeft 1776 – Death ????
Son of John Guthrie, 15th of Guthrie, & Jean Hodge
Born after 1732
Died ????
Spouse: Margaret Whyte m. 1763
Children: John (1771 / 17th of Guthrie), Jean, Margaret, James, Robert

17th BARON of GUTHRIE: JOHN GUTHRIE
Infeft ???? – Death 1845
Son of John Guthrie, 16th of Guthrie, & Margaret Whyte
Born about 1771 in Angus, Scotland
Died 12 Nov 1845 in Scotland
Spouse: Anne Douglas m 24 Jun 1798 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Children: Elizabeth Jane (1799), Margaret (1802), John (1805 / 18th of Guthrie), Ann (1811), Jane (1813), Helen (1816)

18th BARON of GUTHRIE: JOHN GUTHRIE
Infeft 1845 – Death 1877
Son of John Guthrie, 17th of Guthrie, & Anne Douglas
Born 23 July 1805 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Died 7 December 1877 in Guthrie Castle, Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Harriet Maude m 23 July 1844
Children: Harriet Maude (1850), Edith Douglas (1852), Mary Berthia 91853), John (1855), John Douglas Maude (19th of Guthrie), William Mylne (1858)

19th BARON of GUTHRIE: JOHN DOUGLAS MAUDE GUTHRIE
Infeft 1877 – Death 1928
Son of John Guthrie, 18th of Guthrie, & Harriet Maude
Born 5 March 1856 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Died 27 January 1928 in Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Mary Macpherson Davidson m. 1884 in Billericay, Essex, England
Children: John Neil (1885), Ivan Douglas (1886 / 20th of Guthrie), Rupert Victor Davidson (1887), Mary Viola (1890), Duncan Nigel (1891), Maurice (1894)

20th BARON of GUTHRIE: IVAN DOUGLAS GUTHRIE
Infeft 1928 – Death 1964
Son of John Douglas Maude Guthrie, 19th of Guthrie, & Mary Macpherson Davidson
Born 6 August 1886 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
Died 4 July 1964 in Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Kathleen Mona Gough
Children: Moyra Irene (1922 / 21st of Guthrie), Christian Hilda (1924)

21st BARONESS of GUTHRIE: MOYRA IRENE GUTHRIE
Infeft 1964 – Death 1984
Daughter of Col. Ivan Douglas Guthrie, 20th of Guthrie, & Kathleen Mona Gough
Born 1 June 1922 in Guthrie, Angus, Scotland
Died 22 June 1984
Spouse: Mark Henry Phillips m. 1944 in Westminster, Middlesex, England
Children: Loetitia Dawn (1945), Dermott Mark Charles (1952), Rosanagh Mona (19??)

22nd BARON of GUTHRIE: ALEXANDER IVAN BEDINI-JACOBINI GUTHRIE
Infeft 2000 – Living
Son of Loetitia Dawn Phillips & Leonardo Bedini
Born October 1967
Spouse: Yes
Children: Yes



THE BARONY of CRAIGIE

The lands and farms of Craigie were designated as ‘Craigie’ or ‘Kragy’ before 1534. The old barony lies to the east of Dundee, Scotland. It seems there was buying and selling of land between the Kyd family, who held the original title to the Barony of Craigie when it was elevated to that state in 1662, the crown, the Dundee Town Council, and James Guthrie. He acquired a majority of the lands, and subsequently the title. Craigie House was built by the 1st Baron Guthrie of Craigie, James Guthrie, or his son.

BARON KYD – 1ST OF CRAIGIE: PATRICK KYD

BARON KYD – 2ND OF CRAIGIE: JAMES KYD

BARON GUTHRIE – 1ST OF CRAIGIE: JAMES GUTHRIE
Son of James Guthrie (Merchant) & Christian Scott
Spouse: Elizabeth Gardyne

BARON GUTHRIE – 2ND OF CRAIGIE: JAMES GUTHRIE
Son of James Guthrie, 1st of Craigie, & Elizabeth Gardyne
Spouse: Aemilla Murray

BARON GUTHRIE – 3RD OF CRAIGIE: JAMES GUTHRIE
Son of James Guthrie, 2nd of Craigie, & Aemilla Murray
Spouse: Margaret Makgill

BARON MAKGILL – 1ST OF CRAIGIE: GEORGE MAKGILL
9th Vicount Oxfuird

BARON GUTHRIE – 4TH OF CRAIGIE: JAMES ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft 1867 – Death 1873
Son of David Charles Guthrie & Jane Campbell Hunter
Spouse: Elinor Stirling

BARON GUTHRIE – 5TH OF CRAIGIE: DAVID CHARLES GUTHRIE
Infeft 1873 – Death 1918
Son of James Alexander Guthrie, 4th of Craigie, & Elinor Stirling
Spouse: Mary Low

BARON GUTHRIE – 6TH OF CRAIGIE: JAMES ALEXANDER GUTHRIE
Infeft 1918 – Death 1932
Son of David Charles Guthrie & Mary Low
Spouse: Margaret Mary Brown

THE GUTHRIE ESTATE – 2003-2011

BARON THOMAS – 1ST OF CRAIGIE: RABBI ROBERT OWEN THOMAS III
Infeft 2011 – Living



THE FAMILY of JAMES GUTHRIE, LAIRD of PITFORTHIE

The lands of Pitforthie were located near Brechin in the barony of Kethick and sheriffdom of Forfar.

JAMES GUTHRIE
Born: 1596 Scotland
Died: 10 Nov 1650 at Pitforthie, Forfarshire, Scotland
Spouse: Janet (Jonat) Lyon
Children: William (1620-1665), Andrew (1622-1665), Barbara (1624-16??), Nicholas (1626-16??), David Guthrie (1627-1695), Robert Guthrie (1629-16??), Margaret (1630-16??), Alexander (1632-1663), John (1633), and Jean (1636).

Notes: Historical details found on the Pitforthie line indicate that James Guthrie was a possible brother to the Laird of Guthrie. 

Looking into that theory, the timeline for his birth would place him as a possible brother to Patrick Guthrie, 9th Laird of Guthrie, son of Alexander Guthrie 6th of Kincaldrum & Alice Douglas. Patrick was born about 1603, which is close to James’ DOB, but being older than Patrick he would have inherited the title and lands of Guthrie, so that would rule him out of contention for that placement. Another option would be as a younger brother to David Guthrie 7th Kincaldrum & 8th Guthrie, son of Alexander Guthrie & Alice Douglas, but that is the exact situation since David’s younger brother Patrick succeeded him.

There is no obvious spot for James Guthrie to fit into that historical line, which might actually work in favor of the GFG2A theory that they descend from the Guthries of Pitforthie. They are genetically unrelated to GFG1A, which is currently the inferred relation to the Guthries of Guthrie and their kin. More research is required to determine James Guthrie’s origins. One potential placement would be to the relations of the Rev Thomas Guthrie in Brechin. The Pitforthie family attended that church and had their children baptized there. Rev Thomas Guthrie also indicated in his autobiography that his Guthrie family was not related to the Guthries of Guthrie. We need some Y-DNA testing of Guthrie men who descend from the Guthries in Brechin to determine whether or not they match GFG2A.

WILLIAM GUTHRIE (Minister of Fenwick / Laird of Pitforthie / Author of ‘The Christian’s Great Interest’)
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1620
Died: 10 October 1665
Spouse: Agnes Campbell
Children: Margaret (1648-1649), Agnes (1651-1697), William (1653-1655), Mary (1655-16??), Elizabeth 1656-1658), John (1658-1662)

Notes: You will find many trees that inaccurately list Rev. William Guthrie as the son of Rev. James Guthrie, Martyr of Sterling. He is instead the son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie. Both of William Guthrie’s sons died in early childhood. Lineages that continue to the modern era are that of his daughters Agnes and Mary. Agnes married Matthew Miller of Glenlee. Mary married Rev Patrick Warner who became minister at Irvine.

A website on the Rait/Raitt family discusses the Raits of Pitforthie, which claims that Rev William Rait b1617-d1679 married Janet Guthrie ‘eldest daughter of the Rev William Guthrie of Pitforthie House’ and inherited the estate from his father-in-law in 1665 starting a ‘dynasty of Raits in Pitforthie’ as they had 12 Rait/Raitt children.

I don’t have a record for a daughter named Janet, and there are also records naming William’s brother David as his successor. Could it be that the ‘Janet Guthrie’ named is actually the youngest daughter of James Guthrie and Janet Lyon? Rather than the whole estate was it simply Janet’s dowry they received? This needs some research.

ANDREW GUTHRIE
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: about 1622 at Pitforthie (Baptized 8 Feb 1622 at Brechin)
Died: about 1665
Spouse: None known
Children: None, or at least no male issue

Notes: William Guthrie, having assumed the title and lands of Pitforthie at his father’s death in 1650 turned the estate over to the care of a younger brother. Being the next in line this would probably be Andrew. In 1655 William was called back home because of his brother’s illness. William also became ill that same year and died at the home of his brother-in-law Mr Lewis Skinner, minister at Brechin. Younger brother David Guthrie inherited the title because William Guthrie had no surviving male issue.

BARBARA GUTHRIE
Daughter of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1624-1625 at Pitforthie (Baptized 1 Feb 1625 at Brechin)
Died: Unknown
Spouse: Unknown
Children: Unknown

NICHOLAS GUTHRIE
Daughter of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: about 1626 in Pitforthie (Baptized 2 March 1626 at Brechin)
Died: before 10 Oct 1665 in Brechin
Spouse: None known
Children: None known

DAVID GUTHRIE (Laird of Pitforthie)
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 13 Nov 1627 (Baptized at Brechin)
Died: 23 Oct 1695 at Brechin, Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Margaret Livingstone
Children: James (1654), Patrick (1656), William (1657), Francis (1658), Margaret (1659), Robert (1660)

Note: Son James Guthrie and his wife Margaret Skinner, daughter of Margaret Guthrie and Laurence Skinner, had 7 sons and 2 daughters, the lineages of which remain to much extent untraced.

ROBERT GUTHRIE
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1629 (Baptized 4 March 1629 in Brechin)
Died: Date Unknown.
Spouse: None Known
Children: None Known

Note: Robert was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel, but never took charge of a parish as his “tender constitution and numerous infirmities” made him unfit for the physical work required for the role. No data on marriage or children.

MARGARET GUTHRIE
Daughter of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1630 (Baptized 22 May 1630 in Brechin)
Died: After 1668 in Brechin
Spouse: Laurence Skinner, Minister of Brechin
Children: Catharin (1653), Janot (1656), Margaret (1657), John (1662), Jean (1663), Catharin (1666), William (1667), Anna (1668)

Note: Daughter Margaret Skinner married her 1st cousin James Guthrie (b1654), son of David Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, & Margaret Livingstone. They had 7 sons and 2 daughters.

ALEXANDER GUTHRIE (Minister of Stracthro)
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1632 (Baptized 22 March 1632 in Brechin)
Died: 10 February 1663 in Stracathro, Angus, Scotland
Spouse: Magdalen Carnagie
Children: May/Mary, Janet, Margaret, Alexander

JOHN GUTHRIE (Minister of Tarbolton)
Son of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1633 (Baptized 21 Nov 1633 in Brechin)
Died: 30 August 1669 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland or 1689 Location Not Given
Spouse: Mary Haldane
Children: None Known

Historical Note: John Guthrie was accused of turbulent and seditious conduct (1663), took part in the Pentland Rising (1666), and was condemned to death(1667). He received a Royal Pardon 1 Oct 1667. There are two dates given for his death. The first is 1669. The only date and location for the death of a John Guthrie listed that year is for 30 Aug 1669 in Edinburgh. Another source lists 1689 saying “After their defeat at Pentland (John Guthrie) no doubt had his share of the violence and cruelty that then reigned, till annoying 1689, he removed to a better world.

John Guthrie’s name and critical situation sound very similar to the GFG2A-Branch H origin story that claims their ancestor, John Guthrie, fled Scotland for Ireland due to religious persecution and the serious threat upon his life. A connection would also explain the origin story of GFG2A-Branch G that claims descend from the Guthries of Pitforthie. More research is needed on John Guthrie’s whereabouts and Date of Death. 

JEAN GUTHRIE
Daughter of James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie, and Janet Lyon
Born: 1636 (Baptized 5 July 1636 in Brechin)
Died: Unknown
Spouse: None Known
Children: None Known



REV. JAMES GUTHRIE, MARTYR of STERLING

There are countless trees out there listing the Rev. James Guthrie, Minister of Sterling, as a direct ancestor when in fact there seems to be little to no chance of this being the case, and certainly not with a documentation trail to prove it.

JAMES GUTHRIE
Born about 1612 in Scotland
Died 1 June 1661 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Spouse: Jean Ramsey
Children: William (1656-1674), Sophia Guthrie

The identity of James Guthrie’s parents has not been positively made. Some references state that he was a son of the Laird of Guthrie, but the timing of his birth does not seem to mesh up correctly with the line of succession to the Barony of Guthrie.

Even without conclusive evidence of his parentage, it is his line of descent that has to be questioned when people attempt to claim him as a direct ancestor.

It is documented that James Guthrie had only 1 son, William, a university student who fell ill and died while still in college. He was only about 18 years old at the time, and presumably without a wife or issue.

James Guthrie and his wife Jean Ramsey did have a daughter, Sophie. As far as I can tell, her fate is unknown. So it is possible that there are descendants of James Guthrie living today, but they would descend from Sophie.

I believe that people adding James Guthrie to their trees are doing so because they mistake his son William Guthrie for Rev. William Guthrie, Minister of Fenwick. That would also be an error since William Guthrie, Minister of Fenwick, had no surviving male issue. He also had surviving daughters, however, so their lineages can potentially be traced back to the correct source.

Another point of confusion may originate from one of the early Guthrie family histories, which readers may interpret as the authors suggestion that the Rev. James Guthrie was an ancestor.

Published in 1898, ‘Records of the Guthrie Family of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Virginia, with ancestry of those who have intermarried with the family’ by Harriet N. and Eveline Guthrie Dunn begins with an overview of the Guthrie surname and its historical family origins, and includes a brief sketch on some of the prominent men of the name including Rev. James Guthrie, Minister of Sterling. His mention is made to convey the turbulent state of religion in Scotland, and not as a direct statement of relatedness between the minister and the three Guthrie brothers from whom the authors’ families descend. No doubt the authors presumed a degree of relatedness between them since that same belief continues today simply because the Guthrie name is the same.



What’s in your records? Do you have other names or dates or relationships documented?

2 Comments »

  1. My ancestor, James Guthrie, died in 1799 and is buried at Forks of Brandywine Presbyterian church in East Brandywine two, Chester Co, Pa. His father came from Connecticut. His wife was Ann———. His daughter, Sarah, married James Entriken and when they moved to the Ohio territory where she died.

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    • Your family descends from Guthrie Family Group 2A – Branch I: Descendants of James Guthrie. This means they do not share genetic ancestry with the lineages inferred to descend from the Guthries of Guthrie, Guthries of Gagie, Guthries of Kincaldrum, or Guthries of Craigie.

      The family story connected with your branch tells of three brothers in the iron manufacturing trade in Edinburgh. The descendants of the men listed as the brothers make up GFG2A’s Branches B, F, and I. Keeping in mind that all genetically-matched branches of the same group share common paternal ancestry, the origin story of Branch G could potentially apply to your part of the group. These are the Guthries who claim to descend from the Guthries of Pitforthie. It is possible that your branch also descends from that family, if the theory is correct, or that it comes from a collateral line with a common ancestor that predates Guthrie ownership in Pitforthie.

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