Show ContentsMcGriff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name McGriff has seen many modifications since the time in which it was first devised. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Giolla Rua, which means son of the red-haired youth.

Early Origins of the McGriff family

The surname McGriff was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they were the Chiefs of Clonderlaw, conjecturally descended from Tiobraid, son of Iral Glunmhar, King of Ulster. [1]

Early History of the McGriff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGriff research. Another 148 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1638 and 1640 are included under the topic Early McGriff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGriff Spelling Variations

In the days before Gaelic or English gained any significant semblance of standardization, the scribes who created documents simply recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research into the McGriff family history revealed numerous spelling variations of the name, including Gilroy, Kilroy, MacGilroy, MacElroy, MacGreevy, Greevy, MacGilrea, McGilroy, McElroy, McGreevy, McGilrea, MacIlrea, McIlrea, Magilroy, Magilrea, MacElry, McElry, MacIlree and many more.

Early Notables of the McGriff family (pre 1700)

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

McGriff Ranking

In the United States, the name McGriff is the 4,642nd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [2]

United States McGriff migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants landed on North American shores. Although many of them were merely looking for a free plot of land and living of their very own, many later immigrants were desperately fleeing an overcrowded land that did not have sufficient food for its inhabitants. The exodus from Ireland was greatest during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine had stricken the island. Although this large influx of Irish was unpopular with the great majority of people already established within the major centers, these Irish were critical to the speedy development of the United States and those colonies that would eventually become known as Canada. These immigrants provided the cheap labor required to build modern roads, bridges, canals, and railways. Research of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of immigrants to North America baring the name of McGriff:

McGriff Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lee McGriff, aged 35, who arrived at New York, destined for Birmington, Alabama, in 1915
  • Alonzo McGriff, aged 23, who arrived at New York, in 1921
  • Alonso McGriff, who arrived at New York, in 1923

Contemporary Notables of the name McGriff (post 1700) +

  • Perry Colson McGriff Jr. (1937-2017), American politician, Member of the Florida House of Representatives (2000-2002)
  • Tyrone McGriff (1958-2000), retired American NFL football player
  • Terry McGriff (b. 1963), retired American Major League Baseball player
  • James Harrell "Jimmy" McGriff (b. 1936), American hard bop and soul-jazz organist and organ trio bandleader
  • Hershel McGriff (b. 1927), American NASCAR car race driver
  • Fred McGriff (b. 1963), retired American Major League Baseball player
  • Curtis McGriff (b. 1958), retired American NFL football player
  • Patrick McGriff, American politician, Member of Georgia State Senate, 1804-08 [3]

  1. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook