McCrae History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The clans of the Pictish people in ancient Scotland were the ancestors of the first people to use the name McCrae. It was a name for a prosperous person. The Gaelic form of the surname McCrae is Mac Rath, which literally means son of grace or son of prosperity.

Early Origins of the McCrae family

The surname McCrae was first found in Inverness-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) divided between the present day Scottish Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles, and consisting of a large northern mainland area and various island areas off the west coast, the shire was anciently both a Pictish and Norwegian stronghold, but their ancient history is often clouded with conjecture. It appears certain that they lived before the 14th century at Clunes, to the west of Inverness in the territories of the Fraser Clan. Consequently the family has always been friendly towards that Clan. From about 1400, they moved to the location with which they are readily associated, Kintail.

Early History of the McCrae family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCrae research. Another 548 words (39 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1539, 1539, 1688, 1745, 1425, 1505, 1477, 1505, 1715, 1764 and 1778 are included under the topic Early McCrae History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCrae 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. McCrae has appeared MacCrae, MacCraith, MacCrath, MacCraw, MacCray, MacCrea, MacCree, MacCreight, MacCrie, MacReagh, MacRae, MacRay, MacRie and many more.

Early Notables of the McCrae family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Finghin MacCarthy Reagh (c.1425-1505), the 8th Prince of Carbery from 1477 to 1505, belonged to the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty; the Earl of Seaforth who forfeited his lands in 1715, but in 1764 was allowed to buy the lands back from the Government. In gratitude he offered to raise a regiment to be known as the Seaforth Highlanders (the 78th Regiment). Composed largely of MacKenzies and MacRaes (always loyal supporters of the MacKenzies whose Chief commanded the Regiment), it was embodied at Elgin in May 1778...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCrae Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCrae Ranking

In the United States, the name McCrae is the 9,214th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McCrae family to Ireland

Some of the McCrae family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McCrae migration to the United States +

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, 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 McCrae:

McCrae Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas McCrae, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1774 [2]

Canada McCrae migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCrae Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Thomas McCrae Sr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [3]

Australia McCrae migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McCrae Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine McCrae, aged 27, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [4]
  • Jane McCrae, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1850 [5]
  • Jane McCrae, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Sultana" [5]
  • Miss Janet McCrae, (Ferrie) who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]

New Zealand McCrae migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McCrae Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George McCrae, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • Jessie McCrae, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • Maggie McCrae, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • Annie McCrae, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • David McCrae, aged 24, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name McCrae (post 1700) +

  • Gwen McCrae (b. 1943), American R&B singer, best known for her March, 1975 hit "Rockin' Chair"
  • Colonel Sir George McCrae DSO, MP (1860-1928), Scottish textile merchant and Liberal Party politician knighted in 1908
  • Stewart Alden McCrae (1929-2015), Canadian politician, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (1973-1982), Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Calgary affairs (1975-1979), Minister of Government Services (1979-1982)
  • Stewart McCrae (1919-2008), Australian cartoonist
  • Thomas McCrae (1870-1935), Canadian former Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College
  • Georgiana Gordon McCrae (1804-1890), Australian painter and diarist
  • Hugh Raymond McCrae (1876-1958), Australian writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae (1872-1918), Canadian poet, physician, author, and artist best known for writing the famous war memorial poem "In Flanders Fields"
  • Alan McCrae Moorehead OBE (1910-1983), Australian writer and journalist, best known for his books on the nineteenth-century exploration of the Nile, The White Nile (1960) and The Blue Nile (1962)
  • Maurice McCrae Blackburn (1880-1944), Australian lawyer and politician

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Arthur Gordon McCrae (d. 1912), aged 32, Australian Second Class passenger from Sydney, New South Wales who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [7]

The McCrae Motto +

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: Fortitudine
Motto Translation: With fortitude.

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  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARION 1849. Retrieved from
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1850. Retrieved
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from
  7. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook