Guthrie Genealogy



FAMILY LEGENDS of BRANCH G:  The Guthries of Pitforthy

The Story of our Probable Common Ancestors


The interesting Origin Theory for Branch G comes from LRG's Appendix on p.715, ref.414. I'll discuss a problem with this theory after you read it.

"According to a tradition of descendants (John Guthrie's) ancestry ran back to the Laird of Pitforthy (Pitforthie), who was a brother to the Laird of the ancient House of Guthrie, and was therefore a descendant of the Guthries of that Ilk. The Laird of Pitforthy married a daughter of the house of Easter Ogle and five sons were born to them, all of whom became ministers of the gospel, noted for their piety and their attachment to the cause of Presbytery. William, the eldest, was the heir according to law and custom of the paternal estate, but that he might be free from the encumbrance of worldly affairs he made over his inheritance to the one brother of the five who did not obtain the charge of any particular parish."

The narrative continues with the description of Rev William Guthrie's education and ministry. His brother, the Laird of Pitfrothy, died and William returned to his old home to settle the estate. Apparently, he did not assume title over Pitfrothy because it was given to the husband of a Guthrie sister. There are numerous biographies written about Rev William Guthrie. Quite a few of them vary the number of brothers. All agree that William & his wife Agnes had no living male heirs. 

"William Guthrie married Agnes Campbell, a daughter of David Campbell. To them were born six children, but as only two daughters survived him it seems extremely unlikely that he had any male descendants to perpetuate his name. Of the three remaining brothers, all suffered severe persecution. One is said to have fled to England. of the remaining two nothing definite is known. They may one or both have fled or been banished to Ireland. It is no doubt true that the subject of this sketch (John Guthrie) was a descendant of one of these brothers, who went to Londonderry about 1665. He was a Covenanter of the strictest kind and brought with him to America, along with his Bible, a copy of Rev. William 

Guthrie's famous treatise, "The Christian's Great Interest." and several of his other writings and other religious books."  

While browsing for information on the Pitforthie Guthrie family, I came across a UK RootsChat discussion thread on "Guthrie of Pitforthie" which listed the parents and children.

RootsChat user Forfarian says, "James Guthrie of Pitforthie married Janet Lyon, daughter of Lyon of Easter Ogil. They had 10 children: William, 1620; Andrew, 1622; Barbara, 1625; Nicolas, 1626; David, 1627; Robert, 1629; Margaret, 1630; Alexander, 1632; John, 1633; Jean, 1636. William, Robert, Alexander and John all became ministers, and William in particular distinguished himself. He made over the estate to a younger brother in order to concentrate on his ministry, but the brother died and in 1665 William returned to Pitforthie to sort out his affairs. While there he was taken ill and died in the manse of Brechin, where his sister Margaret's husband Laurence Skinner was minister."

Some preliminary data: 

Guthries of Pitforthie (Pitforthy)

James Guthrie (1596 - ????) & Janet Lyon (daughter of Lyon of Easter Ogil) were the parents of the following sons:

1) William Guthrie  (1620-1665)  - Minister at Fenwick. Returned to Angus upon the death of his brother, but died 10 days later. "Deprived for refusing to submit to the Episcopacy, 1664." Wife: Agnes Campbell. Children: Agnes, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, John, William." Both sons reportedly died young.

2) Andrew Guthrie (1622 - c1665?) Wife & Children: Unknown. Presumably no sons.

3) David Guthrie (1627 - 1695) m. Margaret Livingston- 7 sons: Patrick, William, Francis, Robert, James, John, Laurence. (James m. Margaret Skinner whose mother was also a Guthrie. They had 8 sons & 2 daus. bet 1685-1705.)

4) Robert Guthrie (1629 - ????) - Wife & Children: Unknown

5) Alexander Guthrie (1632 - 1663) - Minister of Stracathro & Dunlappie, 1655. Wife: Magdalen Carnegie. Children: Alexander, Margaret, Janet, May

6) John Guthrie (1633 - 1669) - served at Tarbolton & Barnweil until the Restoration of 1662 when he was removed from his charge. "Accused of seditious conduct in 1663 and took part in the Pentland Rising in 1666. Indicted before the Justiciary Court, 1667, and condemned to death, but received the royal pardon." Wife: Mary Haldane. Children: Unknown.


If John Guthrie & Jane Reed are indeed the progenitors of MD/PA Group's Branch G, then this Origin Theory certainly opens up potential avenues of research for all of our Branches. The number of sons with known offspring and those who probably had children who are not listed here certainly gives us a large pool of people to track down.

Now for the "issue" I mentioned at the top of this section....

I refer back to the line that reads, "According to a tradition of descendants (John Guthrie's) ancestry ran back to the Laird of Pitforthy (Pitforthie), who was a brother to the Laird of the ancient House of Guthrie, and was therefore a descendant of the Guthries of that Ilk."

Keep in mind that Lord Charles Ronald Llewellyn Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, is also a volunteer in the Guthrie DNA Project. His lineage links him to the Guthries of Craigie and by extension of the lineage to the Guthries of Guthrie. Genetically, he is a match for the project's GFG1A: The Middlesex Family Group. Our Group, GFG2A, is NOT genetically related to GFG1A. Yet John Guthrie's descendants claim their ancestors are the Guthries of Pitforthie.

That means that if John Guthrie's ancestor was indeed the Laird of Pitforthie, and that laird was genetically a brother of the Laird of Guthrie, our participant cannot be a descendant of John. --OR-- If our participant is a descendant of John Guthrie, and his ancestor was indeed the Laird of Pitforthie, that man is not genetically related to the Laird of Guthrie, no matter that an historical chart indicates that they were supposedly brothers. This indicates the likelihood of a paternal event or an adoption which separated the Guthries of Pitforthie and Guthries of Guthrie.

Lots of "what if" possibilities at this point, but definitely our most exciting lead yet. 


1) How long / how many generations were the Guthries in possession of Pitforthie? 

2) Was the Laird of Pitforthie really a brother to the Laird of Guthrie? Which generation was that relationship supposed to exist? 

3) Did Andrew, Robert or John, sons of James Guthrie & Jane Lyon, have any sons of their own?

4) Can we trace any of the known descendants of the other brothers?

5) Can we find a documented Pitforthie descendant to take a DNA test? 



SOURCE: Angus or Forfarshire: the land and people, descriptive and historical, Volume 3 By Alex Johnston Warden, p.31

"The family of Guthrie acquired a portion of Pitforthie in the early years of the seventeenth century, but we do not know the year. 

They were in possession sometime before 1620. JAMES GUTHRIE of Pitforthie is mentioned on 24th February, 1637, Reg. Ep. Br.


The source mentioned above lists: "On the death of the author of "The Christian's Great Interest" (William Guthrie), the male line ended, and the Rev. James Rait, a cadet of the House of Hallgreen, who had married their heiress of Guthrie of Pitforthie, succeeded to that estate." No date was listed.


Some of this info was taken from an online tree: 

Scotland: Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae  

Description: Lineage linked families for ministers of the Church of Scotland from the Reformation. 

This source lists only James, the father, and sons William, Alexander, and John.

Another Google Books source:

Registrum magni sigilli regum Scotorum: The register of the Great Seal of Scotland, Volume 10 By Scotland, Great Britain. General Register Office (Scotland)


This source also lists biographies of several Guthrie ministers:

Scottish episcopal clergy, 1689-2000 By David M. Bertie

Dated 27 July 1655:

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.