Guest blogger Diane Gould Hall’s 4x Great Grandfather William Gillen (Michigan Family Trails) was born in the last years of the Revolutionary War. As we transitioned from colonies to country, our record-keeping also shifted. Here’s what Diane has done so far in her ongoing quest to cross that generation and find William’s parents. Any other ideas for her?


Today’s brick wall post is about my maternal 4th Great Grandfather, William GILLEN.

I began researching William Gillen over 10 years ago. While I have found quite a few pieces of information about him, I have yet to locate his parents or siblings. Two other family members, who are genealogists, have also searched diligently for William’s origins. Some of the information I have, has come from my cousin Amy and my brother John.

Born – 17 Oct 1782 in Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania
Age 21 – Marriage – to Rachel FRAMPTON (1781-1855) on 28 Feb 1803 or 1804
Age 22 – Birth of son #1, John Gillen, 17 Oct 1804
Age 23 – Birth of daughter #1, Ann Gillen, 30 Oct 1806
Age 25 – Birth of daughter #2, Sarah Gillen, 12 Oct 1808
Age 27 – Birth of daughter #3, Emily Gillen, 8 Aug 1810
Age 28 – Birth of son #2, Martin Gillen, about 12 Jun 1811
Age 36 – Birth of daughter #4, Mary Jane Gillen, 5 Jun 1819
Age 28-38 – Moved his family from Pennsylvania to Ohio
Age 39 – Birth of son #3, Elijah Fisher Gillen, 21 Aug 1822
Age 40 – Birth of son #4, Isaac Fisher Gillen, May 1823
Age 58 – Died on 27 May 1841, probably in Lawrence Co., Ohio
Occupation – Teacher

NOTE: As I wrote the information above I notice there is an 8 year gap between the birth of son #2, Martin Gillen in 1811 and daughter #4 in 1819. It’s always suspicious when there is that big a span of years between the birth of children back in those years. We know from history that children were generally born every couple of years.
Are there other children? If so, did they die at birth or as infants?
Is there a record of other children born to this couple?
Family View for William & Rachel Gillen (from Legacy 8)

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

William Gillen is mentioned in several published books.  Please see the sources listed at the end of this post.

William Gillen’s wife was Rachel Frampton.  The Frampton family were well known in Pennsylvania.  And Rachel’s mother, Anna Barbara Martin’s father, Johann Everhard Martin was an early settler in Pennsylvania.  There is a book called The Frampton Family by J.S. Wrightnour, D.D.  Mention is made on page 96 of Rachel & William Gillen as follows: “…Rachel Frampton was born November 11th, 1781.  She was married to William Gillen, February 1803.”  No further mention of this couple is found in this book.

Here is the only online record I have located for the marriage.

Individual View for William Gillen (from Legacy 8)

As you can see from the Event section of the Individual Information in the image above, I have located William Gillen in several census records:

  • 1810 – New Sewickey, Beaver, Pennsylvania (name is listed as Gilland, but ages fit with family)
  • 1820 – Fayette, Lawrence, Ohio
  • 1830 – Union, Lawrence, Ohio
  • 1840 – Union, Lawrence, Ohio

Other mentions of William Gillen.

Below are two mentions of William Gillen in the first volume of History of Lawrence County, Ohio, pages 3 & 18.
The first is reference to him being the first teacher in Aid Township.  The second is a reference to him being a charter member of the Ice Creek Baptist Church.
QUESTION:  He was mentioned as a Methodist Episcopal in the Western Christian Advocate.  Did he change religions or simply begin attending another church?

All records indicate that William Gillen died 27 May 1841, probably in Lawrence Co., Ohio.

Here is an obituary I’ve located for William Gillen.  This obituary was published in the Western Christian Advocate on 6 Aug 1841.  Unfortunately, there is no mention of William’s parents.  However, it is certainly nice to have some of these dates & places to help confirm or negate information from other sources.

Here is the headstone photographed by my cousin Amy.  William is buried at Burlington Green Lawn Cemetery, Fayette, Lawrence, Ohio.  You can see his memorial on FindAGrave here #66551832.

Reference to Gillen’s buried in Lawrence County, Ohio can be found on this website.  I have extracted the two pages referencing Gillen burials.  William is listed on the second page shown here.  Unfortunately, the link I have for these cemetery records is from 2009 and is no longer active.

A year or so ago, asked a genealogist from the Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Society to research William Gillen.  She found no mention of him anywhere.  Perhaps I need to look in Juniata County or Centre County or elsewhere?

1.  What have I missed?
2.  Where else should Iook?
3.  Are you related to the Frampton or Gillen family mentioned here?  If so, please contact me.

Western Christian Advocate, 6 Aug 1841
History of Lawrence Co., Ohio 1990, pg 3 & 18
History of Lawrence Co., Ohio, 2003 Edition, Vol 2, pg. 62
The Frampton Family by J.S. Wrightnour, pg. 96

Amanuensis Monday – William Penn Document (involving William Frampton)
CHURCH RECORDS – How They Can Help You With Your Research

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl



You can read Diane’s original post, with comments, at

If you have ideas or stories to share in our “How I Solved It” series, please let us know!

Diane Gould Hall
Diane has been researching her family history for over 13 years. She is a member of the DAR, the San Diego Genealogical Society, the North San Diego County Genealogical Society, the Aberdeen, Scotland Historical Society, and the New England Historical Genealogical Society. Her hobbies also include traveling, riding horses and reading. She's happily married and retired. Visit Diane's Website