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Surname MacGillivray - Meaning and Origin

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MacGillivray: What does the surname MacGillivray mean?

The last name MacGillivray is of Scottish origin. It is derived from the Gaelic Mac Gille Bhreac meaning "son of the follower of St. Brendan". St. Brendan was a 6th century Irish monk and navigator, and is believed to have been one of the first European explorers to visit the Americas.

The MacGillivray surname is associated with a renowned Highland clan who are believed to have settled in Carnac on the Isle of Mull in the 13th century, as confirmed by a charter of King Alexander II. They were related to Clan MacLeod and share a common ancestor, and in the 16th century were granted the lands of Dunmore on the Ross of Mull.

Today, people named MacGillivray are both historically significant and widely spread. A significant branch is found in western parts of Canada, particularly on Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. In addition, there are many MacGillivrays throughout Scotland and the rest of the world. The name is associated with intelligence, strength, and spirit, and is often taken with pride by those who bear it.

MacGillivray: Where does the name MacGillivray come from?

The last name MacGillivray is most commonly found in Scotland, where it is believed to have originated. There are currently around 4,500 bearers of the name living in Scotland. The MacGillivray surname is also quite common in Canada, with around 6,400 people currently carrying the name.

There are also pockets of MacGillivrays living in the United States, especially in the Northeastern states, as well as around the Great Lakes region and along the West Coast. Other countries with significant populations of this surname include Australia, England, France, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Within Scotland, the highest occurrences of the MacGillivray name are concentrated in the northeast of the country, particularly in Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, and Morayshire. Other areas with a significant population include Angus, Argyll, and Perthshire, as well as the islands of Skye and Lewis.

The MacGillivrays have a centuries-long history in Scotland and trace their ancestry back to the 11th century Angus MacGillivray, who is recorded in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland from that time. Today, members of this family still make their home in Scotland and their descendants across the globe proudly bear the MacGillivray name.

Variations of the surname MacGillivray

The surname MacGillivray is an anglicised variation of the Gaelic name MacGillebride which originated in the Highlands of Scotland. Its spelling and variants have changed over the centuries. Some of these spellings are: MacGillivray, MacGillivrae, MacGillaivery, Mackillivray, MacKillivray, MacKelvie, and Makilvie.

The Anglicization of Gaelic surnames was a common practice, as the English language spread throughout Scotland. As a result, many of the variations of MacGillivray stem from English spellings of the name.

Another variant of MacGillivray is MacGillivrae, which calls to mind an older form of spelling. This is an ancient Gaelic form of the name, which means "servant of St. Bride". MacGillivrae is the traditional spelling of the name in Gaelic.

The surname MacGillivray has two main variants, firstly the MacGillivrays of the Glenorchy and secondly, the MacGillivrays of Strathspey. This would indicate that the two branches of the family come from two separate ancestral origins in Scotland.

The MacGillivray surname is also found in Ireland in the form of MacKillivray or MacElvie. In the past, Irish immigrants to America often changed their names when they crossed the Atlantic. This may be the reason why these spelling variants of the MacGillivray surname exist in the US today.

The surname MacGillivray has been further assimilated in other countries, and the variants have changed over the years. For example, in Germany the spelling of the surname has shifted to "Mackilvie" or "Makilvie". Similarly, in France, the spelling has evolved to "Mackillivray".

These various variants of the MacGillivray surname point to its long and varied history. While the original Gaelic origin is indisputable, the changes in spelling of the surname reflect its evolution as an Anglicised form. Today, this ancient Gaelic surname is still a fixture in many countries around the world.

Famous people with the name MacGillivray

  • Janet MacGillivray: Canadian actor and drama teacher
  • Chester MacGillivray: Canadian businessman and politician
  • Bernadette MacGillivray: Scottish writer
  • Lachlan MacGillivray: Canadian politician
  • Alexander MacGillivray: Canadian politician and journalist
  • Steven MacGillivray: Canadian musician and singer
  • Gordon MacGillivray: Scottish politician
  • Angus MacGillivray: Scottish actor
  • Ryan MacGillivray: Canadian actor
  • Paul MacGillivray: Canadian politician
  • Stuart MacGillivray: Canadian actor
  • Dan MacGillivray: Canadian hockey player
  • Dave MacGillivray: Canadian radio personality
  • Belle MacGillivray: Canadian author
  • Frances MacGillivray: Canadian singer and songwriter

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