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The MacDonald Clan Theory

There is a theory that the McCreery family is part of the MacDonald Clan this theory is based on the following:

A Dictionary of Surnames.  P Hanks and F. Hodges.

McCreery Scots:  Anglicized form of Gael.  Mac Ruidhri, patr. from the personal name Ru(a)idhri; see Rory. Vars:  McCre(a)ry, McCririe.

Rory Scots and Irish:  Anglicized form of the Gael. Personal name Ruaidhri, originally composed of Celts, elements meaning 'red' (also 'powerful', 'mighty') and 'rule'.  Vars: Rorie; Roger.  Patrs.: Rorison; McRo(o)ry, McRury, McCrory, McGrory, McCreery (Gael, Mac Ruaidhri).

The Book of Ulster Surnames.  By Robert Bell

MacCrory (also Rodgers and Rogers)

Rodgers and Rogers are English names often found in Scotland and together they constitute on of the most numerous British names in Ireland.  Roger was a common personal name in medieval England and Scotland and derived, through the Old French Roger, from the Old German Roger, meaning 'fame spear'.  The surname, with the 's' appended, means simply 'son of Roger'.  Rodger as a personal name and Rodgers as a surname are the most common in counties Down and Antrim, will be of English or Scottish stock.

However, in Ireland the Gaelic name Mac Ruaidhri, anglicized as MacCrory, MacGrory, MacRory, Magrory and so on, sprang up in many different areas as a simple patronymic, meant to last for one generation 'Rory's son'.  Where the name stuck and was passed on, most at a later stage adopted the name Rogers or Rodgers.  Even as late as 1900 Rogers and Rodgers were being used interchangeably with MacGrory, Macrory and Magrory around Cavan town; with MacCrory near Blackwaterstown, Co. Armagh, and Dungannon and Strabane in Co. Tyrone, with MacGrory around Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, and Kilkeel, Co. Down: and with MacRory in Dungannon, and in the Draperstown district Co. Derry.  MacCrory in Ireland is virtually exclusive to Ulster, where over half are in Tyrone and a third are in Co. Antrim.

However, there were two MacRory septs in Ulster.  One of them, a branch of Colann Colla, was based originally in Tyrone from where a branch early migrated to Co. Derry.  There they became erenaghs of the church lands of Ballynascreen in the barony of Loughinshinsholin.  The other sept were erenaghs of Machaire Croise in Fermanagh and were probably a branch of the Maguires.

MacCrory is also a Scottish name, a variant of MacRory, Scots Gaelic Mac Ruairidh.  These were an important sept of Clan Donald who also anglicized their name to MacGorry, MacRuer, MacRkury and Rorison.  Some in Ulster, particularly in Antrim where the MacDonald influence is most felt, will be of this stock.  Several MacDonald, MacRory families came to Ulster as galloglasses in the early fourteenth century, probably in connection with the invasion of Edward Bruce.  It is possible that a few of the name in Ulster descend from these.

Scottish Surnames

MacDonald.  The son of Donald.  The family are descended from the Angus MacDonald, son of Donald, whose father, Reginald, was the son of Somerled, Thane of Argyll.

MacRorie.  The son of Roderick.  The family are descended from Roderick, grandson of Somerled, Thane of Argyll.

History of ClanDonald The Families of MacDonald, McDonald and McDonnell.  By Henry Lee

Clan Donald.

Septs include the following:

MacCrire, MacCrorie, MacRorie, MacRory, MacRury, MacRyrie, Roderick, Rorie, Rorison, Ryrie.

Clan MacDonald of the Isles.

Motto: Per mere per terras - By sea and by land
Badge: A hand in armour in fess, proper, holding by the point a cross crosslet fitchy, gules.
Tartan: MacDonald of the Isles
Gaelic Name: MacDhomhnuill
Plant Badge: Heath
Origin of Name: Gaelic Domhnull (world ruler)

It is difficult in a short sketch to outline the history of various branches of the clan Donald, the families of which are intricately interwoven.  Somerled, Regulus of the Isles, from whom the clan trace their descent, expelled the Norsemen from the Western Isles in the 12th century.  He was killed at Renfrew in 1164 when his army did battle with Malcolm IV, and was succeeded by his son Reginald, Lord of the Isles, from whom are descended the Clans MacDonald and MacRurie.

From Dugall, the brother of Reginald, are descended the Caln MacDugall.  Reginald was liberal to the church and founded the monastery of Saddell.  His son, Donald "de Isla," succeeded him, and under his guidance the clan attained great eminence.  He died in 1269 and was succeeded by his son Angus who supported Haco, but did not suffer from the latter's defeat at Largs in 1263.  Angus Og supported Bruce and increased the family possessions considerably. His son, John, assumed the title of Lord of the Isles in 1354.  His son Donald of Harlow followed as 2nd Lord of the Isles.

He married the only daughter of the Countess of Ross, and claimed the Earldom of Ross, but later renounced this claim and became a vassal of the crown.  He died in 1423, and his son Alexander succeeded and became Earl of Ross on the death of his mother.  The title was acknowledged by the Crown in 1430.  For a period he was Justiciar of Scotland.  he Died in 1448 and was succeeded by his son John, 4th and last Lord of the Isles, who rebelled against the Crown and declared his independence.  After a long stormy life, during which the Earldom of Ross was annexed to the crown, and the Lordship of the Isles forfeited, John died without legitimate issue in 1498.

The Surnames of Scotland.  By Dr. George F. Black

MacCrorie, MacCrory. Ir. Mac Ruaidhri, son of Ruaidhri, 'red king.'  John McCrore was tenant of Drunmamark, Ardmanoch, in 1504 and John McCrorie was bailie of Maybole, 1688.  John McCrory and John Oig McCrory were tenants of Chisholm lands of Inverchanich, 1721.  MacRory.

MacRory, MacRorie, MacRury.  MacRuairidh, 'son of Ruadhri.'  See Rory.  John filius Rothri was present at please held at Dull in Atholl, 1264.  Rouland fiz Aleyn MacRotherik of the counte of Innernys rendered homage, 1296.  Report was made in 1297 of lawless proceedings on the part of Lochlan and Rodric Macrogri (of Garmoran) in the West Highlands in ravaging Skye and Lewis and burning ships of Edward I of England commanded by Alexander of Islay, Edward's admiral in the Isles.  Ninian, son of Thomas Make Rori, and Gillepatike, son of Brice Make Rori, Galwegian hostages, died in Carlisle prison, 1298.  Alexander Makrore Mc Kilferson was tenant of Kilkewane, Kintyre, 1506.  Gillechallome McRorie in Abirnethie was fined for resetting Clan Gregor, 1613.  Donald Dow M'Rorie and John M'Rorie in Ballinoo, and John M'Rourie in Ardtounishever were denounced rebels in 1675 and Taskel M'Rory of Iverness was a Jacobite prisoner of the '45.  Macrury is said today to be the oldest clan name in Uist.  MacRuaraidh and MacIlliruaidh, Islay surnames, are sometimes Anglicized Reid and Mackury is a Barra form of the name.  Makreury 1427, McRrory 1682, McRorie 1675, Mc royre c. 1520, Mc royri 1522.

MacRury.  See MacRory.

Rory, Rorie.  Anglicized forms of Ruairidh, Ruaidri, Ruadri, from proto-historic Celtic Round-rix, 'red king.'  The name is sometimes confused with Teutonic Roderick.  Ruadri, mormaer or Mar, appears c. 1131-32 as a witness in the Book of Deer, and is probably the Rothri comes of the foundation charter of Scone.  He figures similarly in the great charter of David I to the monastery of Dunfermline (1124-27) as 'Rotheri comes'.  Cristinus filius Rury witnessed a quitclaim of land of Drumkerauch, 1260.  Ruadri of Bute was grandson of Somerled.  Rorie is a surname in Aberdeen.  Old: Rore, Rorye.

MacRyrie. Macryries were a sept of Macdonald but the name is now rare.  Roithridh is a personal name still in use, and stories are told of Coinnech mac Roithridh.  Donachig mc ryrie for Donnchadh MacRiridh in the Fernaig MS.  It is doubtful whether ryrie is meant for Riridh, Raoiridh, or Ruaraidh.  The name is also current with omission of Mac as Ririe and Ryrie.

Ririe, Ryrie.  From (Mac) Ryrie.

Ryrie.  From (Mac) Ryrie.  See under Ririe.

In the above argument the name McCreery is dialectal variant of Mac Ruaidhri and is taken from the Old Norse personal name Roderick or Rory.  There are a number of sources that link the name to MacRory or Rory and there is a family that is a sept of Clan Donald named MacCririe with a number of variants as mentioned above.  However, if you take into account the history of the family and where the name is found rather than how it sounds you come to a different conclusion.

The Surnames of Scotland by Dr. George F. Black as already stated The Genealogist's Encyclopedia says contrasted with those of England, Scottish surnames are few in number and it is possible to deal with them in one volume.  This is well done in a book by Dr. George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning and History, published in 1962 by the New York Public Library.  This is a monumental work and it is to be doubted whether any Scots surname has escaped the author's research and erudition.

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry by Kathleen B. Croy says, if you are interest in the origin of your surname, and it is Scottish, I suggest you consult The Surnames of Scotland by Dr. George F. Black.  This is one of the 'bibles' for the genealogist; it is a most interesting, informative book, and is to be found in most large libraries.

In the list of surnames above taken from the book The Surnames of Scotland by Dr. George F. Black the names MacCrory, MacRory, MacRurie and Rory are all tied together.  The names MacRyrie, Ririe and Ryrie are also tied together. According to the references made about these surnames they are to be found in the Scottish Highlands and linked to Clan Donald.  Dr. Black does not link the name MacCririe to this group of surnames but rather he says this is an old Galloway surname and connects it to MacCririck.  The variants under MacCririe are McCrery, Makririe, McCrerie, McCreery, McCreerie, McCreirie and MakCririe.  Also it is stated under the name MacCrery - A form of MacCririe. MacCreery in the north of Ireland.  The surname McCreery and its variants are not to be found in the group of surnames listed above by Dr. Black as associated with Clan Donald.

Dr. Black also states the following. The names of the Galloway clans are not those of the Highlands; or in instances where they are the same, it is inconceivable that they were off-shoots from say, clans in Badenoch.

If you take into account the name McCreery and define it following that history and meaning of the name, you have to come to the conclusion that the McCreerys are part of Clan Donald as demonstrated above. However, when you consider what is stated by Dr. Black in The Surnames of Scotland above and the considerable amount of evidence on the main page this seems to demonstrates a tie to the McCriricks of Galloway rather than the MacDonalds of the Isles.