McRay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The clans of the ancient Scottish Pictish tribe were the ancestors of the first person to use the name McRay. It was name for a prosperous person. The Gaelic form of the surname McRay is Mac Rath, which literally means son of grace or son of prosperity.

Early Origins of the McRay family

The surname McRay 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 McRay family

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

McRay 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, McRay has been spelled MacCrae, MacCraith, MacCrath, MacCraw, MacCray, MacCrea, MacCree, MacCreight, MacCrie, MacReagh, MacRae, MacRay, MacRie and many more.

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

McRay Ranking

In the United States, the name McRay is the 13,706th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McRay family to Ireland

Some of the McRay 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.

United States McRay 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 McRay:

McRay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William McRay, aged 37, who arrived in North Carolina in 1774 [2]
McRay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Roderick McRay, who landed in Arkansas in 1872 [2]
McRay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Barbara McRay, aged 29, who landed in America from Golspie, Scotland, in 1908
  • A. H. McRay, aged 45, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Mary McRay, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1911
  • William McRay, aged 45, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • G. McRay, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McRay (post 1700) +

  • Robert McRay (b. 1962), born Robert Wade Ray, an American television actor, sculptor, and personal trainer
  • Charles McRay Blow (b. 1970), American journalist, commentator, and current visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times

The McRay 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: Fortitudine
Motto Translation: With fortitude.

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  2. ^ 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) on Facebook