The name "MacRae" is a personal one like Macbeth, not a patronymic
like MacDonald. It originated quite independently in various places in
Ireland and Scotland from an early date and was given to individuals who
were in no way connected with each other. In Gaelic and Old Irish, Mac-Rath
literally means "son of prosperity" or "divine grace"
and the name appears in Scotland as early as the reign of Malcolm IV (1141-1165),
when a certain MacRaith de Ospitali witnessed the gift of a church to
the canons of Holyrood. Gaelic pronunciation.
The name first appears as a surname in the North of Scotland in an agreement
made at Inverness in 1386 between the Bishop of Mory and the Wolf of Badenoch.
This document refers to land in Rothiemurchus, Inverness-shire which was
at one time occupied by a certain Cristinus MacRath. From that date, the
name is frequently met with as a surname in various parts of Scotland,
particularly in the Shires of Ross, Pert, Ayr, and Dumfries.
From "The Clan MacRae," Donald
MacRae, Johnston and Bacon Ltd., 1984
Accepted Septs and Spellings
The source for these accepted spellings is Scots
Kith and Kin, HarperCollins Publishers, Revised edition, 1989
Famous MacRaes include:
- Duncan Macrae was born around 1640, was educated at Edinburgh
University, and composed Gaelic poetry.
- Lt. Colonel John Macrae was born in 1861, served in the Black
Watch, and was both deputy keeper of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and
a member of the Royal Company of Archers.
- Colonel Sir Colin Macrae of Feoirlinn was knighted n 1935,
served with distinction throughout the Boer War, and was not only a
member of the Royal Company of Archers, but also a lieutenant in the
bodyguard of the English monarch, the Yeomen of the Guard.
- George G. McCrae (1833-1927) was born in Scotland and emigrated
to Australia in 1841. He published two volumes of verse based on Aboriginal
- John MacCrae (1872-1918) was a Canadian physician and poet,
and is best known for his poem "In Flanders Fields."
- Duncan Macrae (1905-1967) was born in Glasgow and taught for
some time before becoming an actor. His most famous films include Whisky
Galore, Tunes of Glory, and Walt Disney's Greyfriars'
- Gordon MacRae (1922-1986) was a popular star of musicals and
is probably best remembered as Curly in the film Oklahoma.
- Sir William McCrea (1906-2000) was an astrophysicist who made
a vital contribution to the understanding of the sun's composition,
confirming the theory that hydrogen was by far the most common element
in the outer layers of the sun's atmosphere. His findings let to the
big-bang theory of the origin of the universe.
- Farquhar MacRae (?-2000) was a world reknowned Scottish fiddler.
- Brian MacRae (?-2000) served as Piper to the Queen for 15 years,
playing under her window at precisely 9:00 each morning.
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