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Cornelia Wendell Bush
MacRaes to America

As the former Historian to Clan MacRae North America, I decided to take on this project as we discussed to help the many people whom I met at Highland Games who couldn't trace their roots in American records, partially due to the overwhelming number of inconsistent spellings of the census records.


Soundex searches in the internet databases yielded MacEverybody.


If you couldn't locate all the records for the first name of the person you were searching for, you might unknowingly trace someone else, and so your entire research project would be incorrect.


The solution: list all of the MacRaes alphabetically by first name instead of by last name, in chronological order, in the state they resided, while noting but not relying upon the spelling of the last name. 


And so, a book was born! See my Amazon storefront to purchase the book at,

FYI: There are four footnotes, and I've provided a sample page to demonstrate the concept.

In order to make the files of maximum use, when given names have apparent misspellings I have put a suggested spelling in brackets (so searchable by first name in PDF version, on CD rom).

(The Amazon explanation of my book confuses people and I've been unable to get them to correct it so far: the book is a finding aid, not a biographical index, as one reviewer apparently had expected. I live in hope that someone who understands the concept and its application will write a positive and short review. So, if this point could be made clear on your site, then the information will be more likely to reach people. I'm selling these below my cost, and it took me 3 years to conduct the research, and I have additional data but stopped at the point I was risking carpal tunnel. A second version would probably make more sense as an online database and save me the printing costs.)

Bush, MACRAES TO AMERICA!!, Page 1 of 632


A Brief History of the Clan MacRae

With Records of

MacRae, Ray, MacRath, McGrath & Related Families

© 2002-2006 Cornelia Wendell Bush, All Rights Reserved

This project was undertaken at the sole initiative of, and the sole expense of, the author/compiler/publisher, Cornelia W. Bush, and is not in any way affiliated with, funded by, or connected to any society.

Bush, MACRAES TO AMERICA!!, Page 2 of 632

Dedicated to my mother, Ann Patricia McReynolds, and to her mother, Dorothy Claire MacRae.

MACRAES TO AMERICA!!, Page 3 of 632


In general, the MacRaes/MacRays are the Scots and the MacGraths/MacRaths are the Irish, but since we are all originally one Clan or family, I have listed all spelling variants for both groups. Please note that Clan MacRae has no septs, only spelling variants of the one Gaelic name.






































































No researcher works alone but always must stand on the shoulders of those who came before. This book would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the many good people both in Scotland and America who have shared their stories and insights with me.


First, let me acknowledge the census-takers, researchers and compilers who each, in his/her own way, made this work possible.


Second, let me acknowledge the superlative Genealogist, Mr. Alistair Macleod of the Inverness Public Library. Words cannot express my gratitude to you, not only for your dedication to your work, but your kindness to me in the days after 9/11 while I was still in shock. The many good people of Scotland who were kind to me in those weeks will remain in my heart forever. God bless you all.


Third, I wish to acknowledge my cousins, the MacRaes of Conchra, whom I first met in 1970. We are all grateful that Eilean Donan Castle has such fine Stewards, and this former Mackenzie castle gives us a focal point for our own heritage. I wish to particularly thank Miranda MacRae, Baroness van Lynden, for her friendship. And last but never least, my friends who encouraged me, inspired me and kept me going on this long road: William Franklin Wyatt, III, Regional Vice President of Clan MacLeod who gently prodded me along, John McCrea, former Genealogist of Clan MacRae, who encouraged me to become active in the Clan MacRae Society of North America, where I served as its first Historian, and to my late father, David Hoard Bush, who always encouraged me to be persistent, patient and not to give up no matter how difficult a task might be. Dad, this task is finally completed -- may it prove to be of worth.


This project began as a personal search for my ancestors in the MacRae branch of my family. It led me to the discovery that I was a Mackenzie of Ballone, which further led to the discovery that I was also a MacLeod, a MacDonald and to then be able to trace my Scottish roots very far back. What a wonderful discovery! So, I have studied the history of several Clans and their inter-connectedness before producing this book.


What I had been unable to do with American records, I was able to do with Scottish records. And therein lay the secret, working in American records is incredibly frustrating, because in Scotland the surname is much more likely to be spelled uniformly in the records. So, if I can help my fellow MacRaes get through the jungle of the American records, then we can all get back across the sea to our roots. And so, this project was born.

Bush, MACRAES TO AMERICA!!, Page 5 of 632


 I have used several sources to compile the records in this book, chiefly, the United States Census, which has been published every ten years since 1790, and which has been compiled and indexed by numerous parties over the years. The most recent records available to the public are from 1930. Not all years are fully represented, and the best coverage occurs from 1790 to 1850, although some later records are included as noted. References in this book apply to either Microfilm rolls in the National Archives or to a published Index of that year.


American census records provide a great many clues about our families, if we can find them. In the case of MacRaes or MacAnybody you cannot use the Soundex System to reduce the number of records you must go through to find your MacSomebody. The Soundex simply looks at the first few letters and gives you too many people in your search if you come from a Celtic background. You wind up with MacEverybody. So, I decided to compile and correct the census records available for our Clan, taking special note of common Scottish first names which had been misspelled and for whom an online search would have therefore not been fruitful.


Not all census enumerators were familiar with Scottish or Irish spellings, and even our ancestors themselves may not have been consistent. This means that the same person may have had many different surnames in the records. When a surname is spelled consistently here, it may be indicative of the way it was spelled overseas prior to arrival in America and may give indications as to where to look geographically to go further back.


All of the spelling variants listed in the front of this book have been compiled, and the records have been organized by State and listed alphabetically by first name regardless of how the last name was recorded. I have also suggested alternative spellings for forenames in brackets.


When a record appears to be a duplication, it has been removed, which means that if you are told to look on a certain page of the Census of 1840, you must look at ALL of the persons on that page who are spelled similarly so as not to miss your MacSomebody.


A note about women in the records: the tradition in America used to be that a woman was listed by her husband’s first name if she were widowed, and her own first name if she were divorced. So, a Mrs. A. MacRae might have been the widow of A. MacRae or she may have been divorced and have had the first initial A. As to ethnicity, not all persons in this book appear to be members of our clan, as some have clearly Germanic associations in names as well as in places of birth, and

Bush, MACRAES TO AMERICA!!, Page 6 of 632

this is particularly noticeable with the surname RATH. Perhaps there is a connection, yet to be discovered, so they have been included.


If you find a record in this book you wish to examine, you have several options. You can go to the national or regional location of the National Archives to view the actual record and obtain a copy, or to the DAR Library in Washington, DC where the microfilms are held in the Seimes Collection. The records have been indexed in book format geographically. Many good regional libraries have genealogical collections which contain the microfilm or the indices, or can order them upon request. The website <> now makes it easy to view these documents online and order digitally enhanced copies of the originals (fee for access and for copies). A professional Genealogist can obtain these records for you if you prefer; see the websites of The Board for Certification of Genealogists at or The Association of Professional Genealogists at I do not endorse any particular approach and have used all of the above.


The MacRaes and MacGraths arrived in America in record numbers, and by the first Census of the United States in 1790, they accounted for approximately 400 persons. Of these, the largest number were called RAY (228 persons) and the next largest number were called MCRAE (51 persons), plus the other spelling variants. By 1930, the most recently available data, American members of our Clan totaled almost 120,000 persons. Of these, the RAYs accounted for 61,919 persons and the MCGRATHs accounted for 12,295 persons, followed by GRATHs at 8,003 persons, RAEs at 7,277 persons, WRAYs at 6,860 persons, REAs at 5,837 persons, RATHs 5744 persons, MCRAEs at 5,082 persons and so on. This growth in numbers cannot be accounted for in any other way but massive immigration.


Many MacRaes came to America during the sad and ignominious period known as the Clearances, which took place in the 1800’s, when large groups of people were forced off the lands held by their clans for centuries. The Scottish Diaspora is one of the most severe examples of ethnic cleansing in the history of humanity. Since it was largely done with the involvement of Scottish landowners and the occasional Chief or two, it is not generally seen in this light, but it is so. It is also true that many Scots left of their own free will, following a sense of adventure and seeking financial opportunities that Scotland might not have been then able to provide. MacRaes have been dispersed all over the world, with a great many finding their homes in America.

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MacRaes in America continue to demonstrate the gift of the bard, and not a few have been found in the fields of publishing, the theatre, film and other communications arts, along with a few outspoken lawyers and accountants. We also have continued to demonstrate our skills in warfare, and can count on our brave military men and women who bring honor to the name of MacRae.

A second volume of this work is anticipated.

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The name MacRae, frequently translated as Son of Grace, more properly refers to a person in an ecclesiastical/religious profession. MacRae, MacCrae, McCrea, MacRay, Mccree — regardless of the spelling in English, it is all the same word in Gaelic. Ours is an ancient line, which can be traced back to Ireland. The fourteen main tribes which make up the E´rainn of Ireland trace their descent from an ancestor-deity named O´engus Bolg, described as God of Lightning and Maker of Lug’s Spear.

The Dal gCais were the great clan of Thomond, or North Munster, an area more especially associated with County Clare (excluding the Burren and Corcomroe on the northwest corner) and adjacent parts of Tipperary and Limerick. They were the axe-wielding soldiers who formed the core of the army that defeated the Vikings in 1014, one of the most significant dates in Gaelic history. The chief families of this tribe were above all the O’Briens, but also the MacConsidines, MacDonnells, MacLysaghts, MacMahons, O’Ahernes, O’Kennedys, O’Shanahans, O’Duracks, MacGraths, O’Fogartys, O’Galvins, O’Gradys, O’Hanrahans, O’Hickeys, O’Mearas, O’Molonys, O’Moroneys, O’Hartagans, O’Londergans, Creaghs, O’Quins, MacNamaras, MacInerneys, O’Deas and O’Griffeys. The O’Briens (O Briain) were the chief family of the Dal gCais, otherwise known as the Dalcassians, and the heads of the family were the kings of Thomond. The O’Briens derive their descent from Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, who was slain at Clontarf in 1014, at the moment of his final decisive victory over the united Viking army... it was Brian who raised his clan, the Ui Toirdealbhaigh, to preeminence among the Dalcassians... there is evidence that the Ui Toirdealbhaigh were originally from Connaught... The MacGraths (Mag Raith) or MacCrays (Mac Raith) were hereditary poets and chroniclers to their O’Brien kinsmen, and spread with them into Tipperary and Waterford. They ran a bardic school at Cahir and the ruins of their castle in Waterford are still to be seen.” [1]

At least one MacRath came from Ireland to Clunes, Scotland (west of Inverness) during the 13th century or even earlier. It is probable that the MacRaths/MacRaes came to Scotland as Irish Christian missionaries, because of both the meaning of the name and the many MacRaes in high and low church offices throughout the centuries.

The Clann MacRath continued to exist in Ireland. They lived in counties Tipperary, Fermanagh, and Waterford, where many of them served as Bishops and Poets, and where later a John MacGrath was granted a baronetcy. A Captain Redmond

[1] Source: The E´rainn, Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland, An Ethnography of the Gael, AD 500-1750 by C. Thomas Cairney, (McFarland & Co, Inc., Jefferson, NC and London), pp 62-67.


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MacGrath appears in King James' Irish Army List of the late 17th century. We continue to be known for the same character traits and occupations today: fiercely loyal, devoutly religious, poetic (and pretty good with a weapon, too!). While it has been said that the MacRaes had no chief but MacKenzie, the early
registration of the MacReath Coat of Arms 2 appears to indicate that the MacRaes were an armigerous family and likely had their own Chief from an early date, either at Clunes, Scotland or earlier still in Ireland.


The MacRaes of Clunes were on the estate of Lovat during the reign of King William the Lion, or before 1214 AD. At the time they were known as the Brazen Wall of Bisset.


The MacRaes of Clunes remained in eastern Scotland and several settled at Beauly Priory and the area known as the Black Isle where they formed an educated class of clergy, whose descendants became Provosts, Writers (attorneys) and public servants in the county of Ross at Chanonry/Fortrose and at Dingwall. They lived on or near the estate of Lovat.


Bisset of Lovat's daughter and heir was fostered in the home of MacRae of Clunes and when she married a Fraser, thus forming the line Fraser of Lovat, the MacRaes continued to be supporters of the family and retained close bonds of friendship. This appears to be the senior branch of the family, as the Lord Lyon noted in his decision of 1909 that the first MacReath Coat of Arms was registered in the east not the west, as it bore devices customary in the area of Clunes and was not of the style of West Highland Clans 3 .


I am told that the saying goes both ways, “while there is a Fraser within, there will not be a MacRae without” and “while there is a MacRae within, there will not be a Fraser without”, meaning both a warm welcome into each other’s homes and a promise to aid each other in dire times.


Clan MacKenzie allied itself with Clan Fraser through the marriage of Kenneth 7th of Kintail with Agnes, daughter of Hugh Fraser of Lovat, having repudiated his first wife, a MacDonald, and this began the feuds between the MacKenzies and the MacDonalds.

2 Source: Porteous Manuscript, Records of the Court of Lord Lyon.

3 Ibid.

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Beginning with Kenneth MacKenzie 11th of Kintail, the Clan MacKenzie shifted its focus from east to west, intentionally displacing other clans, but the MacKenzies continued to be buried at Beauly and Chanonry (Fortrose) in the east and a number of the MacRaes of Clunes remained in the east as documented by their professional capacities.


This shift caused many MacKenzies and MacRaes to settle in Kintail, and in the 17th century the Clan MacKenzie split into two main lines, known by the names of the Earls of Seaforth & Lords of Kintail in the west and the Earls of Cromartie in the east, plus several cadet branches throughout the Counties of Ross and Cromarty. In many of these MacKenzie lines you will find MacRae wives. The main two western branches of the Clan MacRae are collectively known as the MacRaes of Kintail, being the MacRaes of Inverinate and the MacRaes of Conchra, descended from two sons of the Constable of Eilean Donan Castle. The records do not appear to clarify which is senior and it has in the past been the subject of debate within the clan.


The MacRaes resided mainly in the present-day counties of Ross and Cromarty. Their close ties with Clan MacKenzie in the west and Clan Fraser in the east meant for good relations wherever they went. In time, the affiliation with Clan MacKenzie grew stronger, and with the rising fortunes of the MacKenzies so, too, with the MacRaes.


The Fraser heiress married Alexander MacKenzie, son of Lord Prestonhall, who changed his name to Fraser and from whom the line continued as the Frasers of Fraserdale 4.


The connections between Clan MacKenzie and Clan Fraser remained close, based on blood ties and mutual trust and aided by the constant allegiance of the Clan MacRae.


Clan MacRae participated in the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. William MacKenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth bravely led the MacKenzies and the MacRaes in support of King James VIII, and great loss of life and property ensued. Seaforth survived the battles and the destruction of Eilean Donan Castle, and died on the Island of Lewis in 1740. The men who died during this rising are memorialized at Sheriffmuir on a cairn, which reads: The Clan MacRae -- In memory of the MacRaes killed at Sheriffmuir, 13th Nov. 1715, when defending the Royal House of Stuart. The Kintail and

4 She was first cousin and stepsister to Simon Fraser, who claimed the title of Lord

Lovat by marrying her widowed mother and who was later executed, see Culloden.

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Lochalsh companies formed part of the left wing of the highland army and fell almost to a man. -- Erected at the Instance of the Clan MacRae Society, 13th Nov. 1915.


During the Jacobite rising in 1745-46, Kenneth MacKenzie, 6th Earl of Seaforth and later known as Lord Fortrose, supported the government and did not bring his clan out for Bonnie Prince Charlie. He had seen the many sufferings of his father and his clan from the prior Jacobite rising and chose to preserve the status quo. He did not lead the MacKenzies or the MacRaes into battle.


George MacKenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie together with Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat made a joint recruiting effort in the east around Glenurquhart on the Black Isle, and took part in the Battle of Falkirk on 17 January 1746. Many MacKenzies fought in his regiment but very few MacRaes, perhaps because their population was greater in Seaforth's domain.


Both the Earl and his son Lord MacLeod were taken prisoner the day before Culloden. They were later pardoned, but Lord Lovat was also taken prisoner and was executed with great barbarity at the advanced age of 80 via the method known as hung, drawn, and quartered. He was the last nobleman executed in Britain, and a marker stands at his place of execution at the Tower of London.


The majority of the men taken at Culloden were either executed or transported. As a result of Seaforth's non-participation and Cromartie's recruiting being in the east and not the west, very few MacRaes fought in this decisive battle.


The Original Castle

Eilean Donan Castle was built about 1230 as a fortified structure by King Alexander II. The name means the Island of [Saint] Donan, an early Christian missionary who may have settled here as early as the sixth century. His well, which was presumably the reason for settlement at this location, still runs with fresh water while the island itself is surrounded by three lochs (lakes) where the water is salty — a miracle to this day.


The castle has had many different occupants but is best known for its associations with Clan MacKenzie and Clan MacRae. Many battles have been fought for it, against it, and around it. This led to the naming of the Clan MacRae as MacKenzies’ “shirt of mail” because of both fierce loyalty and fighting skills.

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Generations of MacRaes served as Constables of the Castle under the MacKenzies. In 1719 during one of the Jacobite risings, the castle was attacked and was largely destroyed. For 200 years it stood ruined and alone along the shores of Loch Duich.

The Rebuilding of the Castle

Eilean Donan was rebuilt in the early 20th century at a cost of £250,000 by Lt. Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap of the MacRaes of Conchra. He purchased the site in 1912, and its reconstruction lasted twenty years. A world-wide appeal brought in funds from MacRaes everywhere. Plans for the restoration followed the dreams of Farquhar MacRae, who oversaw the project. The bridge joining the island to the mainland was a later addition, and is apparently the only alteration in design to the original plan of the castle.

The Castle has since become a visual symbol of Scottish heritage as the most photographed castle in Scotland. Today, Eilean Donan Castle is owned by the Conchra Charitable Trust and is open to visitors, along with a modern restaurant and gift shop.


For more information, visit the Eilean Donan Castle web site <>, Map location: Dornie.

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RATH, Adam

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_415, Township: St

Louis 1St Ward, Page: 49, 1850 US

Federal Census

RATH, Adam

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_415, Township: St

Louis 2Nd Ward, Page: 244, 1850 US

Federal Census

RAE, Albert

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_418, Township: St

Louis 6Th Ward, Page: 375, 1850 US

Federal Census

MC RAE, Alexander

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County:

Marion, Roll: M432_406, Township:

Liberty Twp, Page: 288, 1850 US Federal


MC CREA, Allexander [Alexander]

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_418, Township: St

Louis 6Th Ward, Page: 379, 1850 US

Federal Census

MCRAE, Alexander D.

State: Missouri, Year: 1860, County:

Jackson County, Record Type: Federal

Pop. Schedule, Township: Sniabar

Township, Page: 422, Missouri 1860

Federal Census

RATH, Ambrose

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_414, Township:

Carondelet, Page: 278, 1850 US Federal



State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_417, Township: St

Louis 4Th Ward, Page: 10, 1850 US

Federal Census

CRE, Ann M.

State: Missouri, Year: 1870, County:

Marion County, Record Type: Federal

Pop. Schedule, Township: 3 W. Hannibal,

Page: 545, Missouri 1870 Federal Census

MCRAE, Archibald

State: Missouri, Year: 1870, County:

Jackson County, Record Type: Federal

Pop. Schedule, Township: 2 W. Kansas

City, Page: 581, Missouri 1870 Federal


REA, Benjamin

State: Missouri, Year: 1840, County:

Miller, Roll: M704_226, Township:

Richwood, Page: 110, 1840 US Federal


WRAY, Blanton

State: Missouri, Year: 1840, County:

Callaway, Roll: M704_221, Township:

Fulton, Page: 223, 1840 US Federal


MC GRATH, Bridgette [Bridget, Bridgett]

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_416, Township: St

Louis 3Rd Ward, Page: 325, 1850 US

Federal Census

GRATH, Catharine

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_416, Township: St

Louis 3Rd Ward, Page: 316, 1850 US

Federal Census

MC GRATH, Catharine

State: Missouri, Year: 1850, County: St.

Louis, Roll: M432_416, Township: St

Louis 3Rd Ward, Page: 366, 1850 US

Federal Census

MC CRAY, Charels [Charles]

State: Missouri, Year: 1840, County:

Morgan, Roll: M704_227, Township:

Haw Creek, Page: 172, 1840 US Federal


Best wishes,

Cornelia Wendell Bush, CG, FSA Scot

skype id: corneliabush


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