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MacRae Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FORTITUDINE (with fortitude)

Let me share with you the remarkable history of your family, the MacRaes, a narrative woven through time and heritage. The origin of your name lies in the Gaelic, signifying ‘son of Grace’. Proudly known as ‘Clan Mhicrath’ or ‘descendants of Macrath’, the name first surfaced as a surname in 1386, marked by an agreement concerning land in Rothimurchus. Your family’s presence was strong in Kintail, Wester Ross, where they aligned themselves with the Mackenzies, forging a deep bond. This allegiance was so fervent that your family earned the moniker ‘Mackenzie’s shirt of mail’, symbolizing your unwavering support to your Mackenzie overlords. Across generations, various cadet houses emerged, including the Macraes of Conchra, Clunes, Feoirlinn, and Inverinate, enriching your family’s legacy.

While your clan boasts of age and distinction, it has yet to have an acknowledged chief. An intricate legal dispute over chiefship between different branches of your family arose in the early twentieth century, remaining unresolved to this day.

A vivid moment in your history unfolded in 1539, when Duncan Macrae played a pivotal role in ending the siege of Eilean Donan Castle, as the Macdonalds sought to rekindle the Lordship of the Isles. This episode intertwined your family’s fate with the Mackenzies, who prospered while your family, known for its valor, was granted the hereditary constableship of Eilean Donan Castle. Through the years, your clan nurtured many clergymen, among them Farquhar Macrae, celebrated for his intellectual prowess and religious revival on the Isle of Lewis. Your lineage also encompasses Alexander Macrae, a figure who embraced Catholicism when the Episcopalian Church was proscribed after James VII’s deposition.

The annals of your family history are also interwoven with valiant service in the British Army, particularly within the Highland Regiments. When the First World War erupted, Colonel Sir George Macrae rallied volunteers and created a battalion. Though their journey was marked by tragedy, their memory is preserved through a memorial overlooking the Clachan Duich burial ground. In 1912, Lieutenant Colonel John Macrae Gilstrap, a prominent clansman, revitalized Eilean Donan Castle, now an iconic Scottish landmark.

Embrace your lineage, for it carries tales of valor, resilience, and a spirit that continues to shape the legacy of the MacRaes.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: FORTITUDINE (with fortitude)

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