MacGillivray Clan

MacGillivray Clan Crest: A wildcat.

MacGillivray Clan Motto: Touch Not This Cat.

History of Clan MacGillivray:
The MacGillivrays feature in early Western Isles folklore associated with the Macleans of Mull, and the name translates from the Gaelic as “Son of the Servant of Judgement.”

Clan Mhic Gillebrath, occupying Morvern and Lochaber, were one of the clans dispersed by Alexander II when he took  control of Argyll in 1222, and tradition has it that it was at this stage that Gillivray, the Chief, sought protection from Clan Macintosh and entered the Clan Chattan Confederation. The first written record of their existence is in Dunmaglass in 1549, and at the great Clan Chattan gathering of 1609, the 'kin and race of Macgillivray' were represented by Malcolm of Dalcrombie.

As with other members of the Clan Chattan Confederation, the MacGillivrays supported the Jacobite Cause. In 1745, the Mackintosh Chief was serving as an officer in the Hanovarian army and Alexander MacGillivray was placed in charge of the regiment raised by Clan Chattan to fight at the Battle of Culloden, where he fell among many of his followers. After this terrible disaster, and the ensuing Highland Clearances, many MacGillivray clansmen emigrated to North America, Canada and Australia.

William McGillivray (1764-1825), was born at Dunlichty and became a fur trader in Canada where he was  elected to the Legislative Chamber of Lower Canada.
William MacGillivray (1796-1852) became Professor of Natural History at Aberdeen University and became known as the Father of British Ornithology. He wrote A History of British Birds. Charles MacGillivray (1804-67) translated Pilgrim's Progress into Gaelic. James Pittendreigh MacGillivray (1856-1938) was born at Inverurie and in 1921 became King's Sculptor in Scotland.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacGillivary name is most common in Highland (including the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Sutherland, Nairnshire and Ross and Cromarty), Moray and Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire) and Argyllshire.

Places of Interest: Dunmaglass, Inverness-shire. Ancient lands of the MacGillivrays.

Associated family names (Septs): Gilray, Gilroy, Gilvray, MacGilroy, MacGilvra, MacGilvray, MacIlroy, MacIlvrae, Milroy, Roy.

Clan MacGillivary members display certificates.