McCray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

McCray was first used as a surname among the descendants of the ancient Scottish people known as the Picts. It was a name for a prosperous person. The Gaelic form of the surname McCray is Mac Rath, which literally means son of grace or son of prosperity.

Early Origins of the McCray family

The surname McCray 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 McCray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCray 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 McCray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCray Spelling Variations

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. McCray has appeared MacCrae, MacCraith, MacCrath, MacCraw, MacCray, MacCrea, MacCree, MacCreight, MacCrie, MacReagh, MacRae, MacRay, MacRie and many more.

Early Notables of the McCray 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 McCray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCray Ranking

In the United States, the name McCray is the 942nd most popular surname with an estimated 32,331 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McCray family to Ireland

Some of the McCray 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 McCray migration to the United States +

Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name McCray:

McCray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John McCray, who arrived in Virginia in 1717 [2]
McCray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George McCray, aged 20, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [2]
  • Mary McCray, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855 [2]
  • J McCray, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McCray (post 1700) +

  • Carrie Allen McCray (1913-2008), American writer
  • John Kennedy McCray (b. 1961), American artist, actor, author, screenwriter, director and film/stage producer
  • James McCray, American operatic tenor and voice teacher
  • Meagan Kelly McCray (b. 1987), American soccer player
  • Danny DeWayne McCray (b. 1988), American NFL football defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys
  • Chris McCray (b. 1984), American professional basketball player
  • Larry McCray (b. 1960), American blues guitarist and singer
  • Nikki McCray (b. 1971), American former professional women's basketball player
  • Warren Terry McCray (1865-1938), Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana from 1921 to 1924
  • Rodney Earl McCray (b. 1961), retired American basketball player
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The McCray 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) on Facebook