McGray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
McGray 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 McGray is Mac Rath, which literally means son of grace or son of prosperity.
Early Origins of the McGray family
The surname McGray 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 McGray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGray 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 McGray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McGray 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. McGray has appeared MacCrae, MacCraith, MacCrath, MacCraw, MacCray, MacCrea, MacCree, MacCreight, MacCrie, MacReagh, MacRae, MacRay, MacRie and many more.
Early Notables of the McGray 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 McGray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
In the United States, the name McGray is the 18,572nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 
Migration of the McGray family to Ireland
Some of the McGray 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.
McGray 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 McGray:
McGray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Patrick McGray, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 
- Luke McGray, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 
Contemporary Notables of the name McGray (post 1700) +
- Nehemiah McGray, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Barrington, 1884 
- Nehemiah Doane McGray (b. 1838), Canadian ship's captain, merchant and politician who represented Shelburne County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
- Donald McGray Phillips (1929-2016), Canadian politician, MLA for South Peace River (1966-1969) and (1972-1986)
Related Stories +
The McGray 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 Translation: With fortitude.
- ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
- ^ 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)
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html