My eldest GILSON ancestor is Joannes GILSON born ca. 1710 Habay la Vielle, Belgium?. Joannes married
Jeanne LeCOMTE ca. 1737 probably in Habay la Veille, Belgium (old Luxembourg) The only information known about
Joannes and Jeanne came from their children's vitial records. According to their daughters Francica baptismal
they were living in Berg. The godfather on this baptismal record is Peter
BEAUDEUX from Habay la Vielle. Joannes and Jeanne have 5 known children, all born in
Berg (Ferrifodina) in the canton of Diekirch, Luxembourg Click Here to see 4
generations of Joannis
I have researched the GILSON line from 1710 to the present 1998. I have tired to include all branches of the family tree. This includes several braches that emigrated to North America. I have also compiled some data on other GILSON lines in Luxembourg and a little on a Belgium line (old Luxembourg).
Information on the GILSON surname.
The GILSON family originated in Normandy France at the time of the crusades. Some of the family soldiered in the army of William the I, commonly called "the Conqueror". They settled in England, thus dividing the family into 2 branches. A member of the English branch of the family tree, namely William GILSON came to America with the Pilgrims and settled in Plymouth Colony starting a Grist Mill. History has it that he invented the first mechanical contrivance built in Plymouth Colony.
A branch of the French GILSON family tree lived in Habay a province of Luxembourg now part of Belgium. Their surname has been written as GYLSON and GILSON in the church records. Conrad GILSON of this branch of the family raised two sons, Theodore and Michael. Theodore later emigrated to the U.S.A. settling for a time in Milwaukee, Wisconson, later in Port Washington, Wisconsin.
The above story about the GILSON family having 2 branches with one going to England and eventually comming to America with the Pilgrims is probably taken from the book "Genealogy of the GILLSON and JILLSON family" collected and compiled by David JILLSON. In this book it is also mentioned about the GILSON surname being derived from GILL and GILES. Archbishop FRENCH, in his book on words, remarks concerning the GILLSONS, that some pronounced the "G" hard and others soft, and he accounts for it by saying the former were the sons of GILBERT, and the latter the sons of GILES.
Family surnames were not commonly in use previous to the tenth century. They were first used in France, particularly in Normandy. Previous to the Norman conquest the people in England had generally but one name. The GILLSON name is not found in England previous to the Norman conquest. The ancestor is said to have come over from Normandy with William the Conqueror, A.D. 1066 and from the name GILLSON being found in France, gives countenance to this. Whether we are descended from these GILSON / GILLSON or not, is not known
From a book on Habay la Vielle there is mention of the war of 30 years, Herman de Trappe of Liege, Belgium came to Habay la Vielle in 1613 to establish a foundery (de la Trapperie) along with the Gilsons and other families. This is the best lead I have on where the came Gilson resided before settling in Habay la Vielle in the 1600s.