McGillivray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Picts of ancient Scotland were the tribe of the ancestors of the McGillivray family. The name McGillivray is derived from a personal name meaning servant of judgement. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Gillebhrath.

Early Origins of the McGillivray family

The surname McGillivray 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 Chattan.

Early History of the McGillivray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGillivray research. Another 327 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1467, 1535, 1542, 1550, 1688, 15 a, 1745 and 1822 are included under the topic Early McGillivray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGillivray Spelling Variations

Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, McGillivray has been spelled MacGillivray, MacGillivery, MacGillivary, MacGillivry, MacIlvray, MacIlvrae, MacIlwrach, MacIlwray, MacGivery, MacGivray, McGillivrae and many more.

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


United States McGillivray migration to the United States +

The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name McGillivray:

McGillivray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Fargus McGillivray, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • Farquhar McGillivray, who landed in Maryland in 1716 [1]
  • James McGillivray, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • Loughlin McGillivray, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • Owen McGillivray, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McGillivray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Simon McGillivray, who landed in New York in 1802 [1]
  • William McGillivray, who arrived in America in 1802 [1]
  • John McGillivray, who landed in Ohio in 1812 [1]
  • Daniel McGillivray, who arrived in Ohio in 1820 [1]
  • Andrew McGillivray, who landed in Ohio in 1830 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGillivray migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGillivray Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Archibald McGillivray U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]
  • Private. Archibald McGillivray U.E., (King, McGilvra, McGilvrie) born in Isle of Mull, Argyleshire, Scotland who settled in Canada c. 1791, settled in Inverness, Scotland in 1792, returned to Prince Edward Island in 1793 before settling in South Glengarry, [Lancaster], Ontario in 1794 he served in the 71st Regiment of Foot under Frasers Highlanders, married twice having 7 children, he died in 1836 [2]
  • Donald McGillivray, who settled in Ontario in 1794
McGillivray Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Angus McGillivray, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1805
  • William McGillivray/McGilvery, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Isobel McGillivray/McGilvery, aged 32, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Janet McGillivray/McGilvery, aged 11, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Alexander McGillivray/McGilvery, aged 10, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McGillivray migration to Australia +

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

McGillivray Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Martin McGillivray, aged 48, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [3]
  • Neil McGillivray, aged 14, a farmer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [3]
  • Donald McGillivray, aged 17, a herdsman, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [3]
  • Elizabeth McGillivray, aged 22, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie" [4]

New Zealand McGillivray 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:

McGillivray Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Rev. L. McGillivray, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 14th October 1860 [5]
  • Mrs. McGillivray, British settler travelling from London with 6 children aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 14th October 1860 [5]
  • Miss Margaret McGillivray, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 30th July 1861 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name McGillivray (post 1700) +

  • Lachlan McGillivray (1718-1799), Scottish fur trader and planter in colonial Georgia, father of Alexander McGillivray
  • Alexander McGillivray (1750-1793), also known as Hoboi-Hili-Miko, the principal chief of the Creek Indians during and after the American Revolution
  • Will McGillivray (b. 1877), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Iosco District, 1917-20 [7]
  • George McGillivray (1871-1959), American Republican politician, Mayor of Linden, New Jersey, 1925-30 [7]
  • Arthur C. McGillivray, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Ambridge, Pennsylvania, 1910-13 [7]
  • Charles "Charlie" McGillivray (1912-1986), Scottish footballer and manager
  • Florence Helena McGillivray (1864-1938), Canadian painter, known especially for her landscape paintings
  • Edward McGillivray (1815-1885), Canadian politician in Upper Canada, 2nd Mayor of Ottawa, Canada from 1858 to 1859
  • Donald John "D.J." McGillivray (1935-2012), Australian botanical taxonomist, Australian Botanical Liaison Officer (1969-1970)
  • John McGillivray (1770-1855), Scottish-born, Canadian fur trader and politician in Upper Canada, appointed to the Legislative Council of the province in 1839
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/epaminondas1853.shtml.
  4. ^ South Australian Register Friday 17th November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) James Fernie 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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