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Makgill Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SINE FINE (Without End)

Let me share with you the captivating story of your family, the Makgills, a tale woven through time. The name Makgill seems to find its origins in the Gaelic ‘Mac an Ghoill’, signifying ‘son of the lowlander’ or ‘son of the stranger’. The first traces of this name surface when Maurice Macgeil appeared as a witness in a charter of the Earl of Lennox in 1231. Interestingly, while the more common form is McGill/MacGill, your family’s preference is for the ‘Mak’ spelling. This unique surname sprang forth in the south-west region, from the ancient Lordship/Kingdom of Galloway, and gradually spread its roots to the Isles, Ireland, and even farther to England and Wales.

The saga continues with Sir James Makgill, a direct descendant of the venerable Galloway lineage. His influence resonated as he took on the mantle of Provost of Edinburgh during James V’s reign. A man of distinction, he nurtured two sons. The elder, James, ventured to purchase the Nether Rankeillour estate in Fife and pursued a path in law studies at Edinburgh. This path led him to the coveted title of ‘Lord Rankeillor’, standing as a Privy Councillor during Queen Mary’s return to Scotland in 1561. His story intertwines with the intrigue of the time, as he faced accusations and challenges that led to his eventual exile from Edinburgh. This chapter concluded in 1579 with his passing. Meanwhile, his younger brother, who secured the lands of Cranston-Riddell, etched his own narrative. He ascended the ranks of the Court of Session in 1582, having previously held the role of Lord Advocate. Thus, he came to be known as ‘Lord Cranston-Riddell’. The year 1651 heralded the elevation of Sir James Makgill to a peerage with the titles ‘Viscount Oxfuird’ and ‘Lord Makgill of Cousland’.

The family’s legacy continued its journey in the mid-eighteenth century through an heiress who married into the Maitland lineage, specifically the Honourable Frederick Maitland, a son of the Earl of Lauderdale. This union led to the adoption of the name Maitland Makgill. The narrative evolved when David Maitland Makgill of Rankeillor inherited the line of the Crichton viscountcy of Frendraught, prompting the family to adopt the name Maitland Makgill Crichton. Notably, this family member asserted his right to the Crichton chiefship, streamlining the name to Crichton of that Ilk as per a decree by the Lyon Court in 1980. Further down the line, George Hubbard Makgill emerged as the thirteenth Viscount of Oxfuird and chief of the Makgills in 1986. This mantle has now been assumed by his successor, Ian. From a branch of the family hailing from Ayrshire came James McGill, who left an indelible mark by founding McGill University in Canada.

Through epochs and challenges, your family’s narrative unfolds as a tale of resilience, adaptability, and enduring influence.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: SINE FINE (Without End)

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