Guthrie Genealogy



FAMILY LEGENDS of BRANCH A:  The Irish Connection

The Story of Robert Guthrie & Bridget's Dougherty's Potential Claim on Branch A.

See Guthrie Genealogy Hot Topic #3 

Numerous online trees have attached Robert Guthrie & Bridget Dougherty as the parents of our Branch A patriarch, James Guthrie of Maryland & North Carolina.

With no documentation to prove it.

Circumstantial evidence seems to be the only thing linking them together. 


  • Robert & Bridget emigrated from Ireland. So did Branch A's James.
  • Robert & Bridget had a son named James.
  • James of MD/NC named his sons James & Robert.
  • R&B's son was born in 1739 and the Ancestral File and IGI list Branch A's James with an estimated DOB of 1739. 

  • Robert & Bridget went from Ireland to Pennsylvania, not Maryland.
  • James & Robert are not uncommon names.
  • James, son of R&B, supposedly died in PA in 1763, whereas James of MD/NC lived until 1800/01.
  • According to a grandson, James of MD/NC was actually 'about 50' in 1770, making his DOB c1720, and not 1739.
  • The name Bridget is not used by any of Branch A's family to name their daughters, which is a typical practice in that family.


We can't really say that James is or isn't the son of Robert & Bridget without better documentation. Lacking that, we have one other option: DNA Testing. A DNA test could help rule out a relationship. If there is a negative match between a verified descendant of R&B and the MD/PA Group, then James Guthrie of MD/NC is definitely not their son. 

If, on the other hand, there is a positive match between a verified descendant of R&B and the MD/PA Group, that only proves that Robert Guthrie shares a common ancestor with the rest of the MD/PA Group. It does not prove that James Guthrie of MD/NC is his son. What it would allow is for the Branch A Guthries, along with the rest of the MD/PA Group, to use R&B's documented history to trace their ancestry back to a more defined area on the other side of the Atlantic.

While we wait for one of Robert & Bridget's descendants to come to the rescue, we have to depend on research & documentation.

The paper trail for James, son of R&B, needs some work. 


SOURCE: American Guthrie and Allied Families, by Laurence R. Guthrie

ROBERT Guthrie, Sr of Carlisle (p.308) died leaving a family tradition that he was the great grandson of the Rev. James Guthrie of Sterling. [LRG documents a potential ancestral path to prove this theory.]

Robert married Bridget Dougherty in Donegal, Cardonaugh County, IRL in 1736.

1st son Robert b. 1737, 2nd son James in 1739 and a daughter Jane in 1741 who died in 1744.

Robert emigrated from Ireland to America in 1744 with his son Robert. Bridget and James followed in 1745. They settled near Philadelphia, PA and later moved to Lancaster County, PA where son John was born in 1749. They moved to Carlisle, PA about 1750 where their daughter Margaret was born in 1753.

James Guthrie died in 1763. Robert, the father, died in 1782, and Bridget, the mother, in 1794. [This information was quoted by the author from a letter by R&B descendant James Vernon Guthrie who was quoting 2 other letters from his uncle and grandfather.]

Then we are presented with contradictory information. 

JAMES GUTHRIE, (P. 311) son of Robert Guthrie and Bridget Dougherty, is said by one account to have died in 1763, (see p. 310). It would seem that this is an error, as a James Guthrie of East Pennsboro appears to have been the son of Robert. Among the "Freemen" taxables of this township, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, and 1785 was James Guthrie.' Apparently it was this James who was a member of the Cumberland County Militia in 1779,~ though there were two other James Guthries, father and son, of Hamilton Township, (see p. 183), one of whom may have been the party in question. Did this James Guthrie marry Margaret, daughter of Robert Brown?' Perhaps so. Did he live for a period of time in Chester County? This James Guthrie died in East Pennsboro in 1792'

Information on Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthrie can also be found in the Dunn & Dunn book in a section called 'History of the Descendants of Robert Guthrie' by Mrs Martha Guthrie Doughty Lyster. 


Statements made by Rev. Allen Washington Guthrie, James' grandson, indicate that he was about 50 years of age in 1770. Based on a DOB of c1720, James Guthrie of Orange County, NC is more likely to be a brother of Robert Guthrie than he is a son. The Ancestral File & IGI, which are based on submitted data rather than pure documentation, list his birth as c1739, which is the same year documented as the birth of Robert & Bridget's son. There are no birth or baptismal records associated with either family to verify it.  

DNA TESTING NEEDED:  a direct male Guthrie descendant of Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthrie to compare to the DNA samples existing for descendants of James & Elizabeth Guthrie of MD/NC. UPDATE: DONE.

Results will prove whether James Guthrie of MD & NC and Robert Guthrie of IRL & PA share a common ancestor. It will not, however prove a father-son relationship. Should results match, the descendants of Branch A can at least use Robert's origins as a starting point for additional research.

Further study is also needed on James Guthrie of PA to see if there is actual proof of his 1763 or 1792 demise.  

Robert Guthrie of Carlisle is also named in LRG's book as one of the brothers in the Seven Brothers Theory, so it is quite possible that his line matches MD/PA Group DNA one way or the other. More evidence to support this is the possible connection of the Branch E Guthries to this same line. See below.

UPDATE 7/2011: We're still trying to find an eligible candidate for DNA testing from the line of Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthrie. The closest we have come is a descendant of John & Jane (Reed) Guthrie who came from the same area of Londonderry, Ireland. Robert & John are theorized to be brothers. John's descendant is a confirmed match for the MD/PA Group. Could James Guthrie be Robert & John's brother? The DNA for James keeps that possibility open. See the update for Branch E for other reasons why Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthire might belong to the MD/PA Group. 

UPDATE 8/2011: Interesting findings. We have now proven that our Branch E Participant EEG is a descendant of Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthrie, and it also seems likely that EJG (whom we have previously believed was a descendant of Branch B) is also R&B's descendant. Both EEG and EJG share a value of 14 at a specific DNA marker, as do all of the Branch A participants. Is this a sign that Branch A is also a close match along the MD/PA Tree? 

UPDATE 3/2012: We've discovered a couple of patterns within the DNA results. Pattern 1 tells us that members of Branch A share a unique marker. Patter 2 tells us that Branch A shares a marker with Branches E and H, which suggests that they share a more recent common ancestor with each other than they do with the rest of the group. These 3 branches descend from a Guthrie male who's DYS534 genetic marker = 14 rather than 15, which is the mode result for the remainder of the group. The results suggest that James (Branch A), Robert (Branch E) and John (Branch H) were brothers.