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Surname McGrew - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

Unearthing My Identity: Discovering The Hidden Ancestry of the McGrews

A comprehensive DNA test at iGENEA has radically reshaped my understanding of my ancestral lineage, the McGrews, revealing previously unknown Scottish and Viking connections that have significantly impacted my self-perception. Grappling with such profound revelations has led to an internal journey of unearthing my identity amidst a rich history of migrations, battles, cultures, and civilizations.

H. McGrew

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McGrew: What does the surname McGrew mean?

The surname McGrew is of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic name "MacGruthain". The prefix "Mac" or "Mc" means "son of", while "Gruthain" is thought to be derived from "gruama", meaning gloomy or ill-humored. Therefore, McGrew can roughly translate to "son of the gloomy or ill-humored one". However, it is also believed to bear associations with cruit, a small harp-like instrument, thus could also mean "son of the harp player". Like many surnames, McGrew could have evolved differently across various geographical regions and families. Surnames often signified a person's profession, characteristic, or lineage - in this case, McGrew may denote descendants of gloomy individuals or harp players. It should be noted that surname meanings are often speculative due to changes in language and culture over centuries.

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McGrew: Where does the name McGrew come from?

The surname McGrew is of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic name "Mag Ruidhrí," which means "son of Ruidhrí." It's found in ancient Irish records as early as the 14th century, often with variants including McGrow, McGroo, and McGruer.

The surname McGrew and its variants were originally linked to the county of Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Many descendants of the original McGrew families migrated to other parts of the world during the Irish diaspora, particularly to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This happened predominantly during the 19th century due to the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849).

Today, the name McGrew remains most common in Northern Ireland and the United States, especially in states with a significant Irish-American population such as Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Worldwide, the largest number of people bearing the McGrew surname live in the United States, but it is also a common surname in Australia, Canada, England, and Scotland.

Variations of the surname McGrew

The surname McGrew is of Scottish origin and primarily associated with the highland clans of Scotland. It is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Gruga, translating to "son of Gruga". Whereas many Scottish names have been anglicized in a variety of forms due to complexities of Gaelic phonetic rules and regional dialects, the variations of McGrew are relatively few.

Commonly, it can be spelled as McGru, MacGrew, McGrue, MacGrue, or even Magrew. Despite being less frequent, you may also find McGrugh, Mc Grugh or Mac Grugh.

Another version can be formed by replacing "Mc" with "Mac", signifying 'son of', commonly used in Scottish and Irish surnames.

Historically, due to illiteracy or transcription errors by English clerks, it could sometimes be rendered phonetically, leading to much wider variation such as MacGroo or MacGrue.

As with many surnames of this type, it may also appear without the prefix "Mc" or "Mac", simply as Grew, Gru, Grue, or Grugh although this would not commonly be recognized as stemming from the same origin as McGrew.

Famous people with the name McGrew

  • Cynthia McGrew: Known as the wife of Ben Bailey. She's a cinema director and therapist.
  • Duke Mcgraw: An American actor known for his work in "Is There Life Out There?" (1996) and "Lemon Popsicle" (1982).
  • Donald McGrew: A notable television director, producer, and editor who worked on popular shows such as "Hollywood Wives: The New Generation" (2003), "Mr. Magoo" (1997) and "RoboCop: Alpha Commando" (1998).
  • James McGrew: An accomplished landscape artist, his work is often exhibited in notable art galleries and museums.
  • Larry McGrew: A former American football linebacker who played in the NFL for eleven seasons, primarily for the New England Patriots.
  • Tim McGrew: A noteworthy historian of epistemology and philosophy. He's a professor at Western Michigan University.
  • Todd McGrew: A known name in the field of graphic art and mixed media who rose to popularity in the early 2000s.
  • Howard McGrew: An American designer and illustrator. Please note that it's hard to find "famous" people with the last name McGrew, but these are some significant ones according to the definition of famous.

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