Show ContentsMcElfresh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Dalriadan kingdom consisted of the Hebrides islands, and the rugged mountains of Scotland west coast. The name McElfresh began in this region; it was a nickname for a young man with tanned skin or with tawny hair with darker streaks. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac 'Ille riabhaich, which means son of the brindled lad. [1]

Early Origins of the McElfresh family

The surname McElfresh was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very early times.

However, the name "is common in Galloway and throughout the Highlands, and was a common personal name in Rreadalbane 200 and more years ago. A money allowance was granted for Andrew, son of John Make Gille Reue, a Scots hostage who died in Carlisle prison in 1300. Thomas M'Gilrewy was a Douglas tenant in the barony of Buittle, 1376, and David McKilwirk (i.e. Mcilwrick) was bailie of Dumfries, 1476. Donald Makgillereoch or Mak-gillereacht appears as witness in 1485 and 1497, and Robert Makgillereach was concerned in the 'spulyie of Kilravock,' 1497. Duncan McGiilereach in Fandownyach had a precept of remission for offences committed by him, 1503, and the obit of Johannes M'Gillerawyth in Glenloquhacy is recorded in 1506. Michae Dow Mcalgerache, an aged Highlander, was convicted of common theft and 'pikry' (petty theft) in Kirkcudbright in 1508 and banished the town." [1]

Early History of the McElfresh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McElfresh research. Another 576 words (41 lines of text) covering the years 1526, 1607, 1629, 1641, 1685, 1708, 1614, 1734, 1632, 1538, 1539, 1588, 1594, 1596, 1610, 1634, 1622, 1672, 1672, 1502, 1687, 1681, 1682, 1687 and 1684 are included under the topic Early McElfresh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McElfresh Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McElfresh has been spelled Macilreach, McIlreach, MacIlreath, McIlreath, Macilriach, McIlriach, Macilraith, McIlraith, Macilaraith, McIlaraith, Macilarith, McIlarith, Macilwraith, McIlwraith, Macilwraithe, McIlwraithe, MacIlwrathe, McIlwrathe, MacKilwrath, McKilwrath, MacKilwrathe, McKilwrathe, Macgfillreich, McFillreich, Macileriach, McIleriach, Macillrich, McIllrich, Macilurick, McIlurick, Macilwrick, McIlwrick, MacIlwrith, McIlwrith, MacIlrevie, McIlrevie, MacKilreve, McKilreve, MacKilrea, McKilrea, MacElrath, McElrath, MacElreath, McElreath, McElvrick, MacElvrick, McIllrie, MacIllrie, MacAlwraith, McAlwraith, Revie, McRevie and many more.

Early Notables of the McElfresh family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early McElfresh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McElfresh Ranking

In the United States, the name McElfresh is the 11,999th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the McElfresh family to Ireland

Some of the McElfresh family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McElfresh migration to the United States +

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The McElfresh were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

McElfresh Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Francis McElfresh, aged 7, who landed in America from Wellington, MA, in 1914
  • George M. McElfresh, aged 38, who settled in East Akron, Ohio, in 1914
  • Georginia McElfresh, aged 42, who immigrated to Wellington, MA, in 1914
  • William McElfresh, aged 46, who immigrated to Wellington, MA, in 1914
  • E. H. McElfresh, who immigrated to America, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McElfresh (post 1700) +

  • Clarence Newton McElfresh, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nebraska, 1916
  • Justin McElfresh, American actor, known for his roles in Kingdom of Earth (2009), The New Year (2010) and The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell (2006)
  • Andrew McElfresh, American BET Comedy Award winning writer, known for his work on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (165 episodes), White Chicks (2004), Rocket Power (1999) and The Jay Leno Show (21 episodes)
  • David McElfresh (b. 1980), American director and writer, known for his work on Royal Pains (2009), Company Retreat (2009) and The Red Road (2014)
  • Kathleen McElfresh, American actress, known for her roles in Love, Lots of It (2011), A Lotus 'Til Reckoning (2013) and Anything for You (2010)
  • Matt McElfresh (b. 1982), American producer
  • Robert McElfresh (b. 1962), former Australian Rules footballer

The McElfresh 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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook