Origins of Clan McRae
There is no clear history of the Scottish highland clans in long past centuries.
The root-stock of the people now known as McRae or MacRae are believed to
have migrated from Ireland to the far North West of Scotland at least as
early as the fourteenth century. The name McRae comes from the Gaelic Mhic
Raith or Mac Rath which translates literally to "Son of Prosperity" or "Divine
Grace" and the name appears in Scotland as early as the reign of Malcolm
There are any number of different spellings of the name. When my family emigrated
in 1852, our surname was spelt "MacRae", but when the first census was taken
in Victoria, my great grandfather dropped the first "a" for some reason – nobody
seems to know why. Other spellings of the name include "McCrae", "McRea", "McCreath",
"McCray", "McCraw", et cetera.
The story goes that three sons left their home at Clunes following a quarrel. One went south to Argyllshire, the others more westerly to the Kintail area. These two became associated with the strong McKenzie clan under the Lords of Seaforth. The McRaes became body-guards to the Seaforth chiefs, and had the honour of bearing them to their graves right until the middle of the nineteenth century. As early as 1491 at the Battle of Park it is recorded that they were conspicuous in their loyal support.
For 16th to 20th century McRae history, please visit the
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