This surname MACRATH was derived from the Gaelic 'Macrath' meaning 'the son of grace or prosperity'. Early records of the name mention Patrick M'Re who was a tenant in Tybris parish, Scotland in the year 1376. Dugall McRay was a witness at Kilmun in the year 1476. The clan appears to have inhabited the lands of Clunes in the Beauly district in the 12th and 13th centuries and removed to Kintail in the 14th century. The founder of the Kintail branch is said to be Fionnla Dubh MacGillechriosd who died in 1416. They were loyal followers of the MacKenzies, Lord of Kintail and Earls of Seaforth. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
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