The surname of McCRARY is a surname derived from an occupation, generally rendered (the miller's) sifter, but more correctly translated the sievewright. The name was derived from the Gaelic CRIATHRAR. It is the name of a small sept at one time fairly numerous in Strathspey and Lochtayside. They are ranked as Mackintoshes, and some persons of this name now call themselves Mackintosh. 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 of the name mention John McAchrerar had half of Balinlagan in the year 1541. In 1554 there was a complaint of oppression by William Crerar on the tenants of the Abbey of Coupar. Individuals of the name are also in record in Glenurquhay in 1594. John Crerar (1827-1889) a Chigaco merchant of Scottish parentage, gave that city the sum of two and a half million dollars as an endowment fund for a public library. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people.
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