MacGillivray/Mcgilvreay brick wall

+2 votes
Hello! I am researching my maternal grandmother’s side Barbara Mcgilvreay of Boston MA born around 1925-1929(McGilvreay was her specific spelling however MacGillivray is most common *many different spellings*) I am attaching the wiki tree ID for my 7th great grandfather Alexander which is where I am stuck. His son John came into Boston per record’s around hard evidence though.

I am focusing mostly on McGilvreay and the direct line to Scotland and Clan Chattan but I am lost around the early to mid 1700’s (around battle of Culloden). Any help or point in a direction would be much appreciated. I am still learning so forgive me if any mistakes or if I left anything out. Thank you!!!!
WikiTree profile: Alexander McGilvray
in Genealogy Help by Amanda Carter G2G3 (3.3k points)

7 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Hello Amanda and sorry to be so late to come to your question. You say John went to Boston. From where and if from Scotland what source do you have for that? If it is just something on Ancestry treat it with care unless it refers to a proper source.

I have MacGillivray of Dumnaglass blood through my Mackintosh and McIlvain ancestry, all in the adjacent parishes in Nairnshire which I have known all my life. Colonel Alexander MacGillivray, 8th of Dumnaglass led the Clan Mackintosh contingent within the Jacobite army at the Battle of Culloden but he was killed and died without issue. If you are looking for family in Scotland it is MacGillivray you should be looking for as that is the "correct" spelling here. Needless to say as it was really a Gaelic surname translated into English, there are as many spellings as colours in a rainbow!
by Mark Sutherland-Fisher G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)
selected by Amanda Carter
yes a lot of that name based in Inverness shire and Ross shire. happy hunting.
+2 votes
Barbara Mcgilvary, 1940 US Census, Ipswich Town, Essex, MA

Parents are Fred Mcgilvary head age 51 born MA, Marion F wife 50 born MA, Barbara daughter 13 MA. Barbara's birth estimated at 1927.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+4 votes

Hi Amanda,

I added a couple of sources from FamilySearch to his profile. "" isn't actually a source. Here is a link to the help page for the RootsSearch app, which I find very helpful for finding sources to cite.

by Sarah Mason G2G6 Mach 5 (51.9k points)
+2 votes
Since grandson Simon was born in New Hampshire, it is possible that came to the new world and that they never went back to Scotland.  The voyage at that time was very troublesome, and i have read in the diaries of some passengers that they would never do that to themselves again, no matter what problems they faced in their new home.  

Have you checked in New Hampshire for Alexander and Isabel?

I have also found it useful to locate all the grown up children.  Usually mom and dad end up somewhere near one of them.


by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
+2 votes
Here's a wild goose for you to chase:  This family may have been in New Hampshire prior to the American Revolution, and may have experienced divided loyalties.  The Scots in the British Colonies often (surprisingly) sided with the British and were evacuated/expelled as United Empire Loyalists at the end of the hostilities.  You might find them in Nova Scotia or Ontario, which is where a lot of them ended up.  

The conflict separated families, with some members choosing different sides.
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
Sort of along the same line - really a lot of Scots went to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island even before the American Revolution.  Alex or Isabel might have had sibs or cousins there.  Worth a look - but of course be very careful with similar names!  Have you identified the sibs or cousins on the Scotland side so you would know who you are looking for?
+2 votes

apparently there is a John McGillvray mentioned in this book as arriving in New Hampshire in 1769

COPELY, WILLIAM. "Scotch-Irish Settlers in New Hampshire, 1719-1776." In Historical New Hampshire (New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord), vol. 50:3/4 (Fall/Winter 1995), pp. 213-228.

The book isn't online at that link, but you can find out more about where you can borrow/buy it.  Also, it is searchable (doesn't seem to be browsable) at

That would fit nicely in between the latest sightings in Scotland and the earliest sighting in Merrimack being John's marriage to Margaret Burns in 1770

by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
+2 votes
Another angle you might try, after you have located all the children and grandchildren and ascertained that Alex and Isabel aren't buried near them nor in the towns said descendants were living in during the likely time span, is to check if all the cemeteries in the target areas have even been transcribed.  Find A Grave is volunteers too, and doesn't necessarily have full coverage; also there are sometimes little family plots or disused cemeteries that everyone has forgotten about.  Likewise with churches.  You might need to be in touch with local history groups.
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
Sorry I am so late seeing these comments! That is a very thought provoking idea that my Alexander and Isobel could have came over as well. In the ancestry document (which I know I have to take with a grain of salt) there were no other MacGillivary's of any spelling on board BUT that does not mean they did not come over. Thank you for the ideas to go off of!

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