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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?

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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.


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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.

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

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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.

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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


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


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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. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. 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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