Freedom Fıghters

August / September 2007

These photographs of my grandfather, Sgt. Earl K. Giffin, and his sister, Lt. Gladys Giffin, were taken in Paris after the city was liberated during World War II. Both Earl and Gladys had been serving in Europe since June of 1944, and were eventually reunited in Paris.

Raised in Plattsburgh, NY, they were two of Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Giffin’s thirteen children. The Giffin family descended from William Giffin, who immigrated to North America from County Wexford in 1798. William married Tamasin Eyre, also from Wexford. The couple had a son, John Henry Giffin, who married another first-generation Irish-American by the name of Mary Anne White. Mary Anne’s parents,

George White and Mary Rowsome, were both from Omagh, County Tyrone.

Most of the Giffin clan has since migrated to the southern U.S., but our hearts will always be in New York.
Submitted by Scott Carter (Mother’s maiden name: Giffin) Atlanta, Georgia. ♦

9 Responses to “Freedom Fıghters”

  1. Ginger Pedersen says:

    I was in the History Miami archive. I came across a diary, mostly of weather observations, written on paper with the heading “G.H. Giffen” inventor of novelties, with a Miami address. He lived with the Warner family who owned the Miami Floral Company. The house is still standing and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Not sure if this your family.

  2. K. Giffin says:

    William was born in 1795, and immigrated to Upper Canada around 1819-1820 with at least one brother – James. There was another brother – Richard, but I’m still trying to find out what happened to him. William and Thomasine were married in January, 1824, though I have two different names for ministers. He died in 1855, and is buried in New Dublin. I have a picture of his grave – if you want it, send me an email. Thomasine is presumably buried beside him, but there’s no marker for her. I also have a copy of the will in which James left William the farm, dated 7 Sept. 1820, and on the land registry, the lot is listed as being transferred to William in October, 1820. James had just bought the lot in 1819, so I think he had taken sick, and knowing that he was going to die, had his will drawn up. In that will, William’s father is listed as the late John Giffin, of Bally–t– in the Co. of Wexford, Ireland. I can’t make out what it says, because it’s a photocopy taken from a microfiche file.

    • Robert Giffin says:

      I am a from the William line.
      Do you have any info on Williams Lineage.
      Anything on his family in Ireland before they came to Smith falls/Brockville area?

      • Kyle Giffin says:


        I apologize for the late reply – I forgot about this until I stumbled on to it today. All I have on the Giffins pre-Canada was that William and Richard came with their mother, Ann. James’ will lists John Giffin, of Ballymartin, Co. Wexford as the father, but since he never came to Canada, I presume it was because he was already dead. Contact me if you want more info on the original homestead – I’m now living 3 miles up the road from it.

        • Cheryl Giffin Carter says:

          Hi Kyle. As a direct descendant,I was delighted to read what you had to report on William. The pics above are of my Dad and Aunt.Having been so frustrated with lack of info – even going to Ireland – to no avail, I was amazed to read your info. I have a doc. which shows a passenger list of Protestant families from Wexford volunteering to leave and come to Canada 1718. It shows a James Giffin as head of a family of 4,and a James with family of 7. Do you think that could be the same James? I would love to see a copy of the will.Its the first time I’ve heard of any of this. old you be able to send me a copy and pic of the house? I’d really appreciate it. Many years ago I took photo of the log cabin my grandfather was born in and a few years ago was back and it was in half – but got more pics of it. Shiloh church had become a house at that time. My Grandfather Gordon Henry was William’s grandson. How is it you are related to me? I really wish we could trace more in Ireland. I hope to hear from you soon.Looking forward to the info.Thanks so very much. Cheryl in Spring Hill Florida

          • Kyle Giffin says:

            Hi, Cheryl:

            William had two brothers, James and Richard. I have a copy of the will somewhere in my old Army stuff, but I haven’t been able to find it. I got the copy from the Leeds and Grenville chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society, who found it at Brockville Public Library. I’m not sure which cabin you mean – there are two on Rocksprings Rd. The Giffin cabin is across the road from us. It was originally two lots over, but my grandmother’s brother sold it to a neighbour. The footings for the house are still there. The other log cabin is at the intersection of McManus Rd and Rocksprings, but that was Clint Bennett’s in-laws place. Shiloh Church is indeed a house. My lineage came from William to James, to Saul Giffin, to Forrest Giffin, to Orville, to my dad and to me.

  3. Alexander Skeoch says:

    I’m related to the Giffins from Brockville – years ago my mom mentioned we have a watch that was awarded to an American Giffin at the end of WWII from the mayor of Paris. Next time I’m home I’ll see if my mom still has it!!!!!

    • Cheryl Giffin Carter says:

      My grandfather Gordon Henry Giffin was born in Brockville and a direct descendant of William I have spent a lot of time in Brockville over the years as well.These are pictures of my Dad and Aunt. I would love to hear more about the watch you talk about. Hope to hear back soon.
      Cheryl in Spring Hill Florida

  4. Brenda Cowan says:

    i am fairly new at this. I stumbled across it, by mistake.lol. thank you for providing me with some great info. i too struggle, to find the Scottish/Irish side of the family. Bertha Giffin & my Aunt Shirley Cowan, had put a Blue Book together with family and some stories in it ,back to 1795. im just excited to find you…thanks 🙂
    William & Thomasina Eyre- Giffin, were my 3rd Great grand-parents
    John Henry & Mary Ann White- Giffin were my 2nd Great-Grandparents
    Gordon H Giffin my 2nd great cousin & Carrie Maud Cowan – Giffin my great aunt
    Angeline Giffin- Cowan was my great grandmother. married to Alonzo Brock Sr.
    Alonzo Brock Jr was my grandfather married to Lila Sturgeon – Cowan
    K LLOyd Cowan was my Dad married to Betty Workman – Cowan

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