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History of the McGregor Name and Clan

The Clan Gregor and they were descended from the ancient Celtic royal family through the hereditary Abbots of Glendochart.

Tradition states Gregor was the son of Kenneth MacAlpin, but he may have been Griogair, the son of Dungal, who was a co-ruler of Alba which was the kingdom north of Central Scotland, between AD 879 and 889. Most modern historians agree that the first certain Chief was Gregor of the Golden Bridles. Gregor's son, Iain Camm (Ian of the One-Eye) succeeded as the second Chief sometime prior to 1390. Therefore, the origin of the McGregor name is from the Scottish anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Griogair ‘son of Griogar’.

Robert the Bruce granted a royal gift to the barony of Loch Awe, which included much of the MacGregor land, to the Chief of the Campbells. The Campbells harassed the MacGregors who were forced to move deeper into their lands until they were largely restricted to Glenstrae.

John Drummond, the Kings forester, was murdered in 1589 after hanging some MacGregors for poaching. The Chief of the Clan, Alasdair MacGregor of Glenstrae, took responsibility for the murder and was condemned by the Privy Council. King James VI issued an proclamation proclaiming the name MacGregor "altogidder" or "abolished", meaning that those who bore the name must renounce it or suffer death.

The Proscriptive Acts of Clan Gregor were enacted on the 3 April 1603. This Draconian ruling authorized the capture of Alasdair MacGregor of Glenstrae and his leading kinsmen. In 1604, Alasdair MacGregor of Glenstrae, Chief and Laird of MacGregor was hung with thirty of his warriors against the west end of Saint Giles Kirk where the Tollbooth stood. The "Heart of Midlothian" now stands in Edinburgh marking the spot where the MacGregor Chief was executed.

The names of Clan Gregor were erased from existence. Claiming one of these names openly warranted an immediate execution. The clanfolk of the Gregorach were ordered to take different names and obey the new Chief. Many of the Gregors refused resulting in the men being executed and the women being stripped, branded and whipped through the streets. The women and children were later sold into slavery for Britain's new colonies in North America.
Gregors were denied basic necessities of food, water and shelter. They were also denied Baptism, Holy Communion, marriage and last rites. The gentry of Scotland hunted the Gregors with dogs as if they were common game. The worst act was the commission of selling Gregor heads to the government to attain pardon for thievery and murder.

The surviving MacGregors continued in two groups. One group legally changed their names to satisfy the law, taking the names Gregory, Greg and their mother's maiden names. The other group took to the highlands and continued to use their Gregor names in defiance.

The persecution of Clan Gregor finally ended in 1774 when the proclamation against them was repealed by Parliament - 171 years later, by which time many had lost their estates in Scotland, and many
had migrated to the New World.

The Bureau of National Statistics shows the country of origin of McGregors who were in the United States in 1920.
Scotland 528
England 123
Ireland 105
Great Britain 87

For more information see The Clan Gregor at http://www.clangregor.org/index.html

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