The surname BAGRA was a locational name derived from Balgray in Angus, the old record spelling of which are Bagra and Bagro, and from Bagra near Banff. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker. Early records mention John Bagray, who was messenger-at-arms in Aberdeen in 1569, and may have been the John Balgray, a notary public, who was mentioned in the records of the Sheriff Court of Aberdeenshire in 1577. Another John Bagray was a baker in Edinburgh in 1625. A complaint was registered with the Privy Council by John Baigrie in Lufnes, East Lothian, in 1634 and Jean Bagra relict of John Brodie in Portsoy is in record in 1791. William Watt Bagrie of Ytham served in the Great War.
The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously.
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