Kilgore Tapestry



Kilgore Tapestry
……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Data:Kilgore, 1790 Census Records
Source:Addington, 1935



The Kilgore surname is sparsely found in British census records. data show it to be uncommon in both England and Scotland, and non-existent in Wales. The earliest reliable census records for Scotland available on Ancestry are for 1841. From these data we find that the surname is uncommon. In 1841 (light green) and most later census', the surname is concentrated in Lanarkshire near the border region. In later census years the surname pops up in other areas (grey), and sometimes dissappears altogether from Lanarkshire. This variability probably reflects the low concentration of persons name Kilgore, and may be related to either movements of small numbers of persons around th country, or to problems in "data capture" in the census itself. Interestingly enough, though some believe the name "Kilgore" is derived as a toponym from the "Parish of Kilgore" (now the village of Falkland, in Fife), Kilgores are found in that area only in the 1891 census year.


Record survival/reporatage in 18th and 19th centuries in Ireland is limited, There are few census like sources that could potentially yield a systematic picture of the distribution of Kilgores in Ireland. A search of Ancestry Records in their Irish Collection (October 2014) yielded a sparse 41 records that pertained to persons living somewhere in Ireland between 1834 and 1946. Almost all of these records (95%) were for persons living in County Donegal, with the remainder (2 records) for persons living in the County of South Dublin.

Innishowen Donegal 14 34%
Letterkenney Donegal 12 29%
Stranolar, Donegal 5 12%
Leck Donegal 3 7%
Raymoghy, Donegal 2 5%
Moville Upper Donegal 1 2%
Donegal 2 5%
Dublin South 2 5%
Total 41 100%

United States:

While complete records for the 1790 census have not survived, those that do survive provide us with an impression of the distribution of Kilgores in the United States shortly after the end of the Revolution. This distribution probably reflects the distribution of this family name in the colonial period as well.

A total of 26 HOH's bearing the "Kilgore" surname, or obvious variants, are identified as "Heads of Household" in the 1790 census. These data show that the Kilgore surname, was primarily found in the state of Pennsylvania, (and in Cumberland County in particular), and Maine. Smaller populations are found in North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The 1790 census records for Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware have not survived. Whether there are Kilgore's in Delaware and New Jersey is not known, as a search for them in these areas has not yet been made. From other Virginia records we know that a significant population of Kilgores was found in southwestern Virginia. While the 1790 census record for North Carolina shows only a single "Kilgore", there are probably others in the area that escaped "capture" in the census. These data also need to be reviewed to see how extensive the North Carolina Kilgore population was in both 1790 and the Colonial period.

LocationTotal HOHKilgoreKillgoreKillgourKilgereImage:Kilgore 1790 Census.jpg
Maryland42 2
North Carolina11
South Carolina312

From these records we can see that the most common spelling of the surname was in fact "Kilgore", with "Killgore" occuring with the next greatest frequency. Variants such as "Kilgour", "Kilgare" "Kilger" and "Kilgower" are shown to be relatively rare in the period immediately following the Revolution.

Affinity Groups

Several discrete "affinity groups" are apparent in the 1790 census record

TapestryAffinity GroupDiscussion
Old Chester Kilgore TapestryConodoguinet Kilgore'sRobert Kilgore secured land on Conodoguinet Creek in 1744 in what was then Lancaster County, but is now Frankford Twp, W. Pennsboro, Cumberland County. A few years later Person:James Kilgore (5) also secured land on Conodoguinet Creek, but in Hopewell Township, of Cumberland county. They are most likely closely related. About 20 years later a Hugh and David Cowan secure land somewhat to the south of where Robert and James settled, in what is now Tyrone Twp, Adams County. It seems likely that these later Kilgores are sons of either Robert or James.
Kilgores of Cecil CountyPerson:Thomas Kilgore (4) settled in Cecil County Maryland about 1740. YDNA evidence suggests that this line is closely related to that the Conodoguinet Kilgores, but how the connection runs has not been established. Additonal information about this line is needed.
Eastern Old ChesterA group of Kilgores settled in eastern Old Chester. The eldest, John Kilgore, is said to be the the father of person:James Kilgore (5). Two of his other sons are said to have settled in this same area, while James moved to the Conodoguinet. There may be a confusion in these identification. Some [1] have concluded that the John Kilgore in this area was unrelated to James (5), or the two persons identified as his sons. Additional work on this is needed.
MaineKilgores of MaineJoseph Kilgore ( ) settled in York, Maine, during the 17th Century. He is said to have come there from Fife, Scotland. He left numerous descendants, and YDNA tests suggest a common origin with the Conodoguinet Kilgore's.
Carolina Cradle KilgoresHyco Creek KilgoresSettled in the Carolina Cradle about the time of the French and Indian War, moved into Southwest Virginia about 1770, clearly related to the Conodoguinet Kilgore's and others, based on YDNA.
South Carolina Kilgores
Southwest Virginia Kilore TapestryThe 1790 census for Virginia has not survived. Yet there is a substantial population in Kilgores in this area. Indeed, this group is (arguably) the most heavily documented of the Kilgores, thanks largely to Hugh Addingtons "Charles Kilgore of Kings Mountain", and its later incarnations by Rhonda Robertson known as "the little green book".


A number of different interpretations exist for the origin's of the name "Kilgore". Some are more fanciful than others, and there may be different origins for the use of the surname in different lineages. Surname:Kilgore provides a discussion of the origin of the name. As with all such explanations, the validity of any of these is mostly a matter of personal preference. The principal explanation of the origin of the surname are as follows.

1. Habitational Name. Someone who lived near Kilgour, Fife, Scotland. (see number 2 below)
2. Habitational Name. "Kilgour" Derived from gaelic for from coille ‘wood’ + gobhar, gabhar ‘goat’, or "wood goat", presumably meaning "someone who lives in the goat wood".
3. Lineage Name. Derived from the family surname "Gore", combined with "Kel", a monastic term for "place of residence"
4. Tradition. From the battle cry "kill and gore". Probably a "Just so" story associated with a supposed connection to the Black Douglas' of Scotland.


See: Kilgore YDNA Analysis

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Kilgore YDNA results FTDNA33


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  1. Fide Vickie Miller, May 2010