Show ContentsMcElreath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McElreath family finds its ancestral home among the rugged mountains and sea-swept Hebrides islands of Scotland's west coast. In that area, once known as the kingdom of Dalriada, McElreath evolved as 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 McElreath family

The surname McElreath 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 McElreath family

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

McElreath Spelling Variations

In the Middle Ages, the translation between Gaelic and English was not a highly developed process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and so, an enormous number of spelling variations appear in records of early Scottish names. McElreath has appeared as 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 McElreath family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McElreath family to Ireland

Some of the McElreath 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.

Migration of the McElreath family

Ancestors of many of the Dalriadan families who crossed the Atlantic still live along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Some Scottish settlers arrived in Canada during the American War of Independence as United Empire Loyalists, while others stayed south to fight for a new nation. The descendants of Scottish settlers in both countries began to rediscover their heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries through Clan societies and highland games. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name McElreath or a variant listed above: John McIllreavy landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1846; Archibald McIllree landed there in 1832; William McIlrea landed in Philadelphia in 1834.

Contemporary Notables of the name McElreath (post 1700) +

  • Walter McElreath (1867-1951), American lawyer, legislator, and author from Atlanta, first leader of the Atlanta History Center, eponym of McElreath Hall in the history museum, Buckhead district of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Jim McElreath (1928-2017), American racing driver in the USAC and CART Championship Car series

The McElreath 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) on Facebook