Wednesday, November 02, 2016


In the past I have commented on several island family names, including the Gaskills and how there has been some confusion about a possible connection with the Gaskins family. Occasionally the two names have been interchanged, or thought to be variations of the same name. Several weeks ago I was visiting with Euphemia Gaskins Ennis who assured me that Gaskins and Gaskills are two distinct Ocracoke families.

Gaskins is a corruption of Gascone, the surname of a French family who made their way to North Carolina by way of Ireland.

Gaskill, on the other hand, is an English name derived from the location of this family in the late Middle Ages, in Gatesgill, a hamlet in Dalston Parrish within the city of Carlisle in Cumbria County on the northwest coast of England.

Gatesgill, recorded as Geytescales in 1273, derives from the Old Norse words "geit" (goat) + "skali" (shelter), meaning "shelter for goats." Modern variations include Gaitskell, Gaitskill, Gaskill, Gaskell and Gaskall. Read more at the Internet Surname Database.

Ellen Marie Fulcher Cloud and Earl O'Neal have researched Ocracoke Island families extensively. I rely on their research for the following information about the Gaskills.

William Gaskill (b. before 1737 - d. 1768) was a whaler and fisherman, and Justice of the Peace in Carteret County in 1749/1750. He and his wife, Ann Jarret, had ten children. At least two of their children settled on Ocracoke. Thomas Christopher Gaskill (b. ca. 1752 d. ca. 1828) arrived on Ocracoke Island before 1800. His brother, Benjamin Gaskill (d. 1787), married Jane Williams Wahab, daughter of John Williams of Ocracoke (and widow of Job Wahab).

A number of Gaskills continue to live on the island today. As Ellen Marie writes, "what a fine group of people they are."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:  

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:01 AM

    That's very true names and spellings get corrupted but the blood lines and DNA tell the story. When I read the Gatesgill nme it made me think of the Ethel Skakel. yes that Ethel. Her family fortune was from the by product from steel manufacturing process-- as I recall. I read her biography a while ago--it was rather interesting. could be related.