The age-old Pictish-Scottish family name Gillvaray is derived from a personal name
meaning servant of judgement.
The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Gillebhrath.
Early Origins of the Gillvaray family
The surname Gillvaray was first found in Argyllshire
(Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland
corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland
, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute
, but this family seat
was later moved to Iona
with the advent of St. Columba. From this original descendancy came Giolla Brighid, known also as Gillibride, or Gillivray. Gillivray's son, Somerled, the 8th and greatest Thane of Argyll, Lord of Kintyre
, and founder of the 'Kingdom of the Isles' was instrumental in driving out the invading Norse (Vikings) from his Kingdom, commencing in 1140 AD. However, Somerled, still gave allegiance to the King of Vikings
which continued until 1222, long after Somerled's death in 1164 AD. At this time, Alexander II of Scotland
routed many of the Clans 'of the Isles', leaving them eastern Scotland
in an area from Glasgow north to Inverness to the East Coast. The MacGillivrays were moved northwards to Lochabe. They became closely associated with their neighbors, the McInnises, the McMasters, and the MacEacherns. They also joined the great Pictish confederacy of Clans known as the Clan
Chattan, an association of some twenty six Clans, during the time of Ferquhard, 5th Chief of the MacKintosh, and Chief of the Clan
Early History of the Gillvaray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillvaray research.Another 653 words (47 lines of text) covering the years 1467, 1535, 1542, 1550, 1688, 15 a, 1745 and 1822 are included under the topic Early Gillvaray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gillvaray Spelling Variations
In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations
in names were common even among members of one family unit. Gillvaray has appeared MacGillivray, MacGillivery, MacGillivary, MacGillivry, MacIlvray, MacIlvrae, MacIlwrach, MacIlwray, MacGivery, MacGivray, McGillivrae and many more.
Early Notables of the Gillvaray family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan
at this time was MacGillivray of Dunmaglass. The Hon. William McGillivray, son of Donald McGillivray of Dalscoilte, near Dunmaglass, was the head of the NorthWest Company fur trading... Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillvaray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gillvaray family to the New World and Oceana
Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland
, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan
societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Gillvaray: Alexander, Donald, Fargus, James, John, Loughlin, Owen, and William MacGillivray, who all arrived in South Carolina in 1716; Donald McGillivray, who settled in Ontario in 1794.