Thursday, July 28, 2016


Two days ago a reader left this comment: "E.M. Cloud has...written about the names Gaskill and Gaskins being interchangeable in some records. Do you know anything about that?"

Readers may have noticed that in my Ocracoke Newsletter for November, 2012, I wrote, "When Lindbergh arrived at Cedar Hammock the men had already finished their supper meal and Uncle Ben Gaskill, the station cook, was cleaning up the large kitchen when he was told to bring a serving of food to a lone visitor."

However, the text under Ben's picture, from a newspaper clipping, reads, "BEN GASKINS of Ocracoke was the cook at the Cedar Hammock Coast Guard station at the time Charles A. Lindbergh dropped down out of the skies and landed on the beach to spend the night on the island.

Ben Gaskins/Gaskill

This is what Ellen Marie has written on an Message Board:   

"Research of the names GASKILL and GASKINS calls for a lot of patience and common sense. These two names were continuously intertwined. One wonders if the two were at one time the same, and because of difference in pronunciation and, or, spelling, they became two separate names. One example is ADAM GASKINS, one of the earliest settlers, was referred to as GASKILL in many documents. This happened to many families as they were called GASKILL and later referred to as a Gaskins.

"In Carteret County Reg. of Deeds Book pg the names changes from Gaskins to GASKILL and back to Gaskins several times in the same record.

"On the marriage bond of BENJAMINE D. GASKILL (son of William F. GASKILL and SARAH E. OWENS dated located in the Reg. of Deeds office in Swan Quarter, Benjamine is listed as a GASKINS. On the bond his name appears as Benjamine Gaskins three times.

"His son Benjamine GASKILL, Jr. married my Grandmother's sister. They had all sons, Gaskills of course and speaking of any one of them my mother distinctly called them Gaskills, but when ever she spoke of their father, she called him Uncle Ben GASKINS. When I questioned her about it, she said 'I don't know why but I always called him that,' and was quite puzzled about the whole thing. She had never realized that she had been wrong. Talking with other residents I found many people called him Gaskins."

Our latest Ocracoke Newletter is the story of Augustus Cabarrus, early inlet pilot, and the present day d'Oelsnitz family. Click here to read the Newsletter: Ocracoke...The French Connection.  


  1. Anonymous1:44 PM

    This is confusing! So do they all have a common ancestor, or were there two distinct original families.
    Or will it forever remain one of Ocracoke's many mysteries?

    1. As Ellen Marie writes, "One wonders if the two were at one time the same, and because of difference in pronunciation and, or, spelling, they became two separate names." We may never know.

    2. LOL
      Thanks for clearing that up!
      I forgot about the Lindbergh post.
      I'm reading about him now.
      He was a rock star before there was rock.

  2. It's almost akin to gaelic (only as a suffix, not a prefix) in other words Macleod would be a male's last name where as his sisters would be Nicleod... Or, as in Iceland, today, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is is Jóhanna, daughter of Sigurður; conversely, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, his first name is Ólafur Ragnar and his father's first name was Grímur.

    It makes you wonder, then, if maybe this is an older naming convention that one cannot find on the internet... or at least, I can't find it... ;-)