Janet Geils (1738-1818), her family and ancestors

Janet Geils was born in Greenock on 8 October 1738.  Her father was Andrew Geils, a shipmaster in Greenock and her mother was Katherine Donald.


She married James Gammell in about 1760, but no record of this marriage has been found. James’ father William was also a shipmaster in Greenock, so it is likely the families knew each other well and James and Janet may well have been childhood friends.


Janet lived in Greenock all her life and with James had three children.





6 August 1762

In infancy


19 January 1764

14 October 1815


25 August 1765

Autumn 1796


She died at Park House, Greenock on Tuesday 28 April 1818.



Andrew Geils (Janet Geils’ father)

We do not know for certain when Andrew was born or who his parents were, but an Andrew Geill was born in Kirkintilloch on 1 August 1685 and his parents were Robert Geill and Margrat Murduch, and no other likely candidates appear in Scotland’s People’s records, so this may be him.


What we do know was that in Cardross on 24 October 1735 Andrew Geills, shipmaster in Greenock, married Katherin Donald. 


We do not know for certain when he died.  Several Ancestry sites suggest 24 June 1757 and this may be correct though I have not been able to find any supporting evidence for this.


Katherine Donald (Janet Geils’ mother)

Katherine was baptised at Lylstoun, Cardross, Dunbartonshire on 26 October 1716 and so must have been born on very close to that date. Her parents were Thomas Donald and Jenet Cummine.


In Cardross on 24 October 1735, she married Andrew Geils.


Katherine and Andrew had 9 children.




William Giles

8 July 1736

28 May 1737

Janet Geils (Gammell)

8 October 1738

28 April 1818

Grizel Giles (Donald)

11 October 1740


Elizabeth Giles (Wilson)

13 November 1745

Nov/Dec 1825

Thomas Giles

20 July 1747

24 October 1815

Christian Geills

6 April 1749


Isabella Giles (Noble)

1 December 1751


Jean Giles

31 October 1753


Kathrin Giles

1 August 1755



We do not know when or where Katherine died.


Janet Geils’ grandparents

We do not know who her father’s parents were, but they may have been Robert Geill and Margrat Murduch, but if so, we know nothing further about them.


Her Grandparents on her mother’s side were Thomas Donald and Jenet Cummine (frequently spelt in various different ways, including Cumming).


Jenet was born in Dunbarton on 15 May 1681 and married Thomas Donald in Cardross on 27 July 1710.  We do not know where or when Thomas was born, though some on Ancestry suggest it was in Cardross on 20 December 1681, though I can find no evidence to support this.   He was a tobacco merchant.


Together, Thomas and Jenet had 12 children. 




William Donald


24 August 1796

James Donald


23 February 1760

Elizabeth Donald

December 1714


Katherine Donald (Geils)

October 1716


Walter Donald

October 1718


Jean Donald (Watson)

February 1721


Jennat Donald

January 1723


Robert Donald

December 1724

22 February 1803

Thomas Donald

November 1726

Died young

Christian Donald (Smith)

February 1729


Christine Donald

July 1730


Thomas Donald

June 1732



Thomas died in 1757, with some on Ancestry suggesting it was on 26 June 1757, though I can find no evidence to support this.  We don’t know when Jenet Cummine died.


Janet Geils’ great grandparents

Her great Grandparents on her mother’s side were James Donald (1654-1726) and Catherine McAdam (1658-unknown).


They had four children, Thomas (1681), John (Baptised 30 December 1688), Robert (Baptised 3 August 1698) and Janet (Baptised 22 March 1702).


Thomas was Janet’s grandfather (see above), but Robert (Thomas' brother), who married Christian Lees, is important too to our story since one of their children, James Donald (1 April 1728-unknown) married Margaret Gammell, our ancestor James Gammell’s sister.  Another of their sons, William, married Grizel Geils, the sister of Janet Geils who was James Gammell’s wife and the main subject of this page in the Gammell family’s history. 


Confused?  Well the Gammell, Geils and Donald families were all from the Greenock area and in the same business, trading with North America, and particularly trading in tobacco. The relationship of the families at that time is set out below.