This interesting surname if of Scottish territorial origin from the old barony of Gorthie, south west of Methven in Perthshire, so called from the Old Gaelic "gort", a cultivated field or, tilled land. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The first known bearer of the name (below) witnessed Earl Gilbert's foundation charter of Inchaffray, and some eight years later circa 1208, he granted to Inchaffray a croft in Edardoennech near the pond of the mill of Gortin. In later charters of the Inchaffray Chartulary, his sons, Tristram and Henry, appear as witnesses. Another Tristram de Gorty witnessed a charter by Bricius de Ardrossane in favour of the same monastery in 1271, and a bond of manrent by a succeeding Tristrem of Gorte was paid to Lord Oliphant in 1470 for two years. In 1541, one Willie Gorthy, a follower of Campbell of Lundy, was noted in the "Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland", and on August 15th 1819, William Gorthy, who emigrated from Scotland to Canada, received a land grant in Cavan, Newcastle, Upper Canada. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tristram de Gorti, which was dated circa 1200, in the "Records of Inchaffray Abbey", Perthshire, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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