Although there are no records to conclusively prove Gilbert's ancestry, I believe we have some records which provide some very strong circumstantial evidence that he was probably the son of Thomas McKeithan and wife Deborah of SC. Deborah was remarried to James McRee after Thomas's death. Thomas was the only child of Dugald McKeithan who was killed by his slaves in SC by 1750. This Dugald McKeithan was in SC several years before Donald McKeithan arrived in the Cape Fear region in 1739, but the two families were in contact with each other and it's possible that Donald and Dugald were brothers. More info and references to records can be found at http://members.nbci.com/fcharper/newmckeithan.html
If anyone can add further to this, please let me know.
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