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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish McBratney family come from? What is the Scottish McBratney family crest and coat of arms? When did the McBratney family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McBratney family history?


Spelling variations of this family name include: MacBretney, Bretny, Bretney, MacBratney, Vretny, Cretney, Cretnie, Cretny, McBretnach, McBratny, MacBraten, MacBretnie, McVretney and many more.

First found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they held a family seat. In a strange convolution of heritage and translation from the Gaelic, this name, Cretney is descended from MacBratney, or MacBhreatnaich, the Gaelic, meaning a son of the Strathclyde Briton, or children of the Britons, who settled amongst the Gaels. From their home lands in Clontag and Knockane in Galloway in Western Scotland they descended to Martin Birty who appears in records in 1471. They were known as the Clann a'Bhreatannich, and were originally from the Island of Gigha off Kintyre, a branch of the Galbraiths as early as 1230. The name evolved to Makbretny, and thence to Vretny and Cretny.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBratney research. Another 194 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1590 and 1685 are included under the topic Early McBratney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McBratney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McBratney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 286 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McBratney Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel McBratney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1865
  • Bingham McBratney, aged 18, who arrived in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1892

McBratney Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Hugh McBratney, aged 22, who arrived in America from Belfast, in 1905
  • Mrs. McBratney, aged 35, who arrived in America, in 1905
  • John McBratney, aged 44, who arrived in America from Camberwell, Australia, in 1906
  • Mary Harper McBratney, aged 43, who arrived in America from Camberwell, Australia, in 1906
  • Henry Harper McBratney, aged 9, who arrived in America from Camberwell, Australia, in 1906


  • James McBratney (1941-1973), Irish-born, American gangster, believed to have been involved in the 1972 kidnapping of Emanuel "Manny" Gambino


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Quad ero spero
Motto Translation: What I shall be, I hope.


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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The McBratney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McBratney Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 24 August 2014 at 12:02.

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