Two participants whose Y-DNA has numerous matches with men of the Benbow surname rather than any established Guthrie Family Group. One family left Perthshire, Scotland for Cass County, Indiana. The other lived in Ireland before moving to Washington County, Pennsylvania and later to Coshocton, Ohio. There is no known common connection between them. The matching YDNA suggests that the Causal Event, either adoption or false paternity, involving a Benbow family, likely occurred in the early to mid 1700s.



Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma. The city of Guthrie on Cottonwood Creek near it junction with the Cimarron River, north of Oklahoma City, was founded virtually overnight on 22 April 1889, with the opening of the Indian lands to settlement. The gathering place of homesteaders, a station on the Santa Fe Railway, it was named for Judge John Guthrie, a son of William Guthrie and Margaret Japp. It served as the capital of the Oklahoma Territory, and the state government was maintained there until 1910, when it was moved to Oklahoma City. (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)


  • Descendants of Robert Guthrie c1774IRE-1854OH & Jean McGibney
  • Descendants of William Guthrie c1795SCT-1855IN & Margaret Japp

Robert Guthrie immigrated to America from Ireland. His marriage to Jean McGibney occurred in Ireland in 1796. According to family tradition, Robert fought on the Protestant side of the Rebellion in 1798, and soon decided to move his family to America where they had relatives. No indication of the identity of those relatives, however. They lived in Peters, Washington, Pennsylvania for the next 40-50 years. Near the end of his life and now a widower, Robert moved to Coshocton County, Ohio where some of his children were living. He died there in 1854.

Due to the prominence of their son, Judge John Guthrie, we know a little about William Guthrie and Margaret Japp’s origins from published biographies and obituaries. Unfortunately, these do not include more details about William’s parents or the origins of his Guthrie lineage. We do know that William Guthrie was born in Perth, Scotland. He was educated at Glasgow and at the University of Edinburgh. Sources claim that due to the laws of primogeniture, his father’s estate went in its entirety to his eldest brother, and that William felt “stung by a sense of injustice”. He left Scotland for America about 1825 and settled in Switzerland County, Indiana. It is in that county that he met and married Margaret Japp, who was also born in Scotland, having come to America as an orphan with her foster family. 

Various online trees list a number of different candidates for William Guthrie’s parents and grandparents. One book on the history of Cass, Indiana lists his parents as John & Elizabeth Guthrie. None of them seem to have any evidence attached. If you have some, please share it with the project.

One of the two men listed “Robert Guthrie 1773SCT-1856TN (Elizabeth Smith)” as his furthest known ancestors. Investigation shows this to be an error. The name and dates for Robert Guthrie are associated with the man who died in Giles County, TN and belongs to a different genetic group. The Robert Guthrie who married Elizabeth Smith was born 30+ years earlier in Scotland, and it appears that neither of his sons married or produced offspring.


This appears to be a case of a paternal event or adoption, but it is not an isolated incident as two Guthrie men from opposite sides of the country have the same BENBOW Y-DNA. More YDNA matches are required to determine how far back the Benbow connection goes.

Is This Your Piece of the Puzzle?

Consider helping everyone out by sharing your knowledge about your family line. There may be only a handful of people in your immediate family, but hundreds or thousands more around the globe who share your more distant Guthrie ancestry. A little bit of research can potentially provide someone with the clue they need. Contact Ann if you have info to share, want to write an article, or collaborate to create one.


  1. I am a descendant of William Guthrie and Margaret Japp. I am related to this lineage through their son Thomas C. Guthrie. Thomas C.Guthrie had a son Harvey Guthrie who was my grandfather. Harvey Guthrie was District Attorney of Inyo County, Ca from 1929 to 1932.

    My name is Gail Guthrie Scott. My DNA is registered with ancestry and 23 and me. Can I be of any help?

    Liked by 1 person

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