Guthrie Family Groups

Guthrie lineages proven to descend from a common paternal ancestor have been placed into ‘Guthrie Family Groups’. Direct paternal line testing using YDNA is the best source for confirming a match to a specific group.

All 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.

There are also exceptions to the grouping process when the paper trail appears to be rock-solid, but the YDNA does not match the expected group. These mismatches occur through causal events such as adoption, feudal laws, and false paternity.

All Guthrie descendants are eligible for Autosomal DNA testing, but this type of test is most accurate for matching you to cousins with fairly recent common ancestry. These tests are great at providing clues, but may not provide enough official evidence to confirm a link to a Guthrie Family Group. This type of test works best if the older generations of the family provide the DNA samples, and if many participants from all associated lineages compare matches.

The number of Guthrie Family Groups may change over time as new groups are created. There are currently 14 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.


More details on each Guthrie Family Group and their associated lineages can be found on the dropdown menu. If you don’t find your ancestors listed under one of the established groups, it could be that we don’t have the documented evidence or a Y-DNA match to prove ties to a specific group. Check the Ungrouped section for Guthrie families in need of a volunteer.



  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

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.


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