Among the long list of alternate spellings of this Scottish name are MacRay, MacRath, MacCrea, and MacReigh. The name is a 'personal' one like MacBeth and not a patronymic like MacDonald (son of Donald). The Gaelic form is Macrath which means "son of grace", or in some cases "prosperity". The ending word "rath" is common in old Breton names.
The stronghold of the early branch of the family was Eilandondan Castle of Scotland and in recent times this was restored by the late Colonel Macrae-Gilstrap. Going back to ancient records we find Macrathap. Molegan
(Macrath son of Molegan), of Dumfriesshire, Scotland "rendered homage and had his lands restored to him" in the year 1296. From this we must assume that for some reason the person in question had been deprived of his land but there is nothing in the records which indicates the reason for this.
Other records reveal the fact that in the year 1684, a John Robert McCrie, in the Parish of Casfern, Scotland, was summoned and charged in court for being a disorderly person and a non-conformist. He was fined a sum of money (not indicated in the record), but having no cash assets was forced to give up a portion of his livestock.
In Ireland the name is more commonly found as MacGrath or MacRaith. Today the name "Rae" is numerous in the counties Antrim and Down, which are located north in the country and it is generally believed that "Rae" is of Scottish origin.
The most significant coat-of-arms granted to the name is recorded as having a shield with a silver (argent) background on which appears a red horizontal band (fesse) dividing three stars and a lion rampant also colored red (gules).
THE MCREE FAMILY
Very little has been learned of the McRee family. Will Book E, Page I, 1803, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina