Nov 1994; Revised March 2008; July 2009


This essay about the Scottish McMurtries was first compiled in the 1990s to give those searching for their Scottish origins a general idea of the various McMurtrie families, the towns they came from, where their descendants migrated to, and the various occupations - from solicitor, to farmer, to weaver, to tailor, etc. More detailed descriptions of each and every family exist elsewhere on this site, but the most detailed descriptions, including correspondence with the families, is contained in the microfilm edition of the MacMurtrie Clan Family Records available through the extensive branch library system of the LDS Family History Centers.

The earliest appearances of the McMurtrie family using this spelling and the place where it first grew to significant numbers was Ayrshire in southwest Scotland.


The first mention of the name in official records was in 1538, when a Robert Makmurtre is listed as occupying the farm of Bailleballoch (which is Gaelic for "farm in the pass"), in Barr Parish, Ayrshire.The first mention of the name in its modern spelling is in a Testament dated 1604 for a Thomas McMurtrie who died in 1592 in Culzean, not far from the village of Kirkoswald.


By the time that the parish registers began in the mid-1600s and early 1700s, the McMurtries were concentrated in the parishes of Barr, Dailly, Kirkmichael, Kirkoswald, Maybole and Straiton.Also sometime in the 1600s, we believe that one or more branches of the family migrated to northern Ireland and were the progenitors of the numerous Irish families, including those who migrated to the United States in the 1700s. By the 1700s, they were also in the Ayr Burgh area (Newton-on-Ayr, Alloway, and St Quivox), Dalmellington, and Kilmarnock.By the mid-1700s, they had appeared in Glasgow and Falkirk; by the last quarter of the century, a family or two had found their way to areas north of Glasgow (New Kilpatrick), west (Paisley), and further west to Port Glasgow.In Edinburgh, though we see some McMowtries and McMouttreys in the late 1600s and mid-1700s, it is not til the early to mid 1800s that we see McMurtries in Edinburgh and nearby Inverkeithing.


In Wigtonshire, south of Ayrshire, there are a few isolated families (in Old Luce and Glenluce) in the mid-1700s, but it is not til around the turn of the century that we see an increase in McMurtries.Prior to 1798, an Andrew McMurtrie born in Colmonell in 1769, married in Stranraer, in Wigtonshire.†† And around 1807, a John and Robert McMurtrie who had been living in Co Down, Ireland moved back to Scotland and settled in Inch Parish, and then Glenluce Parish.


In the 1790s and early 1800s, a number of families moved to Glasgow area - some remaining and others returning to Ayrshire.Also, a number of families moved to England - again, some remaining there and others returning to Scotland.Still others used their moves as a stepping stone to larger moves - to Australia, New Zealand and the United States.



†††† CurrentDistributionofMcMurtriesinScotland


Inspection of birth records during the past 30 to 40 years suggests that family growth has shifted to the Glasgow area, though significant numbers of births still occur in Ayrshire.Telephone books in the 1990s todindicate that the 118 entries currently listed have their largest concentration of McMurtries in Glasgow, with Ayrshire a close second, and with a fair number in the Edinburgh area.


Though the names and addresses of present day McMurtries is known, it is not known how all these family members are related to the well-charted families of the early and mid-1800s.This is a project that would be interesting to complete.





†††† MajorScottishFamilies


There are over 50 Scottish families that can trace their ancestry back to the 1700s.Of these, 28 are major families with several generations and at least two branches and 3 are very large families with over 100 descendants.In the MacMurtrie Clan Family Records, these families sharing a common ancestor are called Clan Families and given a Clan Family (CF) number to identify them.


The largest families are generally those who left Scotland and went to Australia, New Zealand, England or America.However, there are several families who remained in Scotland and who have descendants there today:


DNA analysis done between 2004 and 2009 showed that all McM have only three different DNA patterns, suggesting that all McM descend from only three different individuals in modern times.

Kirkmichael McMurtries


Andrew McMurtrie (CF 12) married Janet McKail in Kirkmichael in 1795 and had their first children in Guiltreehill, near Lake Barnshean in northern Kirkmichael.He is probably Andrew b 1771 son of John McM of Pleasant Park, Kirkmichael (probably related to the Cassilis estate in northern Kirkmichael). Based on DNA, this family shares a common ancestor with John McMurtrie who married in 1745 Dailly and then moved to Bellimore, Barr Parish. ††† One of Andrew and Janetís sons was David McMurtrie, born in Kirkmichael in 1800, married Margaret Reid in 1823 and died in Ayr in 1867.One of David's sons, also named David, went to England, married Hannah Bailie there, had his first child there, but returned to Ayr where the remainder of his children were born and where descendants lived until just recently.David's brother John was born in 1836, married Elizabeth Forsyth 1869 in Ayr, and died in Ayr in 1896.John's grandson Thomas still lives in Ayr.


Another Kirkmichael family was headed by John McMurtrie, (CF 28) born 1773, married to Jean Baird in Kirkmichael in 1796, and died in 1803.His son was John McMurtrie born 1799 who was a solicitor in Ayr for many years. His grandson was the Very Rev. John McMurtrie (1831-1912), a leader of the Presbyterian Church.He is the son of John McM b 1723 and Agnes Telfair/Telfer who lived in Straiton Parish, just to the east of Kirkmichael, in the early 1760s before returning to Kirkmichael Parish in late 1760s. John b 1723 was the son of John and Agnes Shaw who we believe to be the John McMurtrie of Balwhirn, Kirkmichael who had children in the 1720s and 1730s.


Yet another family from this parish was headed by Hugh McMurtrie (CF 21), a weaver, and Agnes Rowand.We believe he is the Hugh b 1743 in Barr Parish and believe his twin James b 1743 is the James a tailor who married in Dailly in 1768 (CF 4). Hugh's son Hugh was born in Kirkmichael in 1785, married Margaret Currie, raised a family there, but died in Riccarton in 1861.Many of the descendants live in Kilmarnock and Hurlford.Their son John McM (CF 43) married Janet Dick of Balminnock, Straiton, lived variously in Kirkmichael. One branch went to New York, Wisconsin and Nebraska; another to Ireland and Sydney, Australia.Their son James had descendants who went to England.


McMurtries of Dailly


One of the largest of the Scottish families had its origins in Dailly where Thomas McMurtrie (CF 22/32) of Mackrikill married Margaret McMurtrie in 1720 (not to be confused with the Thomas McMurtrie who married Jean Greer in 1715.Thomas' grandson William b 1766 md 1798 Dailly to Jean McFedreis.Descendants in the mid to late 1800s lived in Irvine, Inverness and Dailly.Another of Thomas' grandsons, John McMurtrie, moved to Aidrie, east of Glasgow.Some of Johnís descendants moved to Australia where they operated a large boot factory; others who stayed in the Glasgow area spelled the name McMutrie.


McMurtries of New Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire


Thomas McMurtrie (CF 24), a gardener, married Elizabeth Gardner in 1781 in New Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire.Thomas' descendants live in New Kilpatrick, Glasgow and Edinburgh.




McMurtries of Dreghorn


Andrew McMurtrie (CF 27) married Janet Caldwell in 1807 in St Quivox.His son John (1810-1879), married Margaret Campbell anddied in Dreghorn.Some descendants went to Pennsylvania and Michigan. Andrew had grandchildren living in Dreghorn and Irvine in the late 1800s.



McMurtries of Barr, Colmonell and Girvan


Though the McMurtries appeared in Barr in the 1600s, we are unable to trace these individuals down to more recent times. The twin brothers James and Hugh McMurtrie born in 1743 appear to have migrated north - James (CF 4) to Dailly and Hugh (CF 21) to Ladyburn in Kirkmichael. At the same time, there was a family of John McM (CF 1)that came from Dailly in 1745. One branch moved to Kirkmichael, then on to Glasgow; another moved to Girvan and descendants scattered to Australia, Canada, and the USA.


McMurtries of Maybole


Thomas McMurtrie (CF 16), born about 1767, married Janet Murdock.They went to Paisley near Glasgow briefly in 1793 and had a son Thomas, born in 1802.This Thomas married Elizabeth Campbell in Kilmarnock in 1828.One branch of the family settled in Glasgow. This family is genetically related to the Dalmellington McMurtries..


Another Thomas McMurtrie (CF 7), a weaver, born in 1747, married Margaret Gemmel,lived in Ladycross, Weaver Vennell.Some children moved from Maybole to Ayr in the early 1800s and other branches moved to Crosshill of Kirkmichael by 1841.Descendants still live in Ayr, as well as in Glasgow, Aberdalgie, and Dundee.


James McMurtrie (CF 42) married Margaret McLatchie about 1780 and lived in Doonside and Blairston several miles north of Maybole on the Dalrymple border. Doonside was just a mile from the Brig O'Doon, the famous bridge over the Doon River immortalized in a poem of Robert Burns. One son, James McMurtrie, born in 1796, married Jean Black in 1830 in Dundonald.Descendants live in Rhu, Irvine, Cathcart. This family is genetically related to the Dalmellington families.


James McMurtrie (CF 39) a tailor married Jane Johnstone in 1800.Descendants live in Glasgow and in England. We believe that this James may be the son of James the tailor in Dailly..


James McMurtrie (CF 9) weaver of Redbrae, just to the north of Maybole, md Margaret McClure about 1793. James was born in 1768/9 son of John and Agnes Telfer McM CF 28.Descendants live in Glasgow area.


McMurtries of Inch


Around 1800, two brothers, Robert and John McMurtrie returned to Scotland from Co. Down, Ireland and settled in Inch Parish, Wigtonshire and then Glenluce Parish.Descendants lived in Dumfries and Dalbeattie and Irvine.


McMurtries of Kilmarnock and Edinburgh


Thomas McMurtrie and Margaret Gibson had a son Thomas (CF 47) in 1798 in Galston, near Kilmarnock.Thomas married in 1826 in St Cuthberts to Elizabeth Hunter and had large family that mostly still lives in Edinburgh. Thomas was a fire fighter and many of his descendants up to the current day were fire fighters. This family is genetically related to the Dalmellington McMurtries..


McMurtries of Kirkoswald


Alexander McMurtrie (CF 37), son of Matthew McMurtrie, was born about 1754 in near the coast of Kirkoswald, and married Sarah Davidson.Their son James (1790-1856) married Janet Dow in 1817.One branch had a sojourn in Wales before returning to Scotland and settling in Govan and Dalbeattie. Several branches of this family migrated to Australia and New Zealand.


McMurtries of Dalmellington


David McMurtrie b 1721 in Dalmellington(CF 113) migrated to America by 1752 and his nephew William did the same a few years later. They were both merchants in Philadelphia and signed the Stamp Act protest in 1765, an event that led to the American Revolution. Descendants lived in Philadelphia and Huntingdon Pennsylvania.Another nephew of David b 1721 Duncan b 1748 remained in Scotland.One branch of his descendants went to Australia by 1837 and included a Lord Mayor of Melbourne; another branch went to Pennsylvania; another to Illinois.


McMurtries of Craigie and Sorn


John McMurtrie (CF 23) married in Coylton in 1766 to Agnes Graham.†† Descendants lived in Craigie and Sorn and then Kilmarnock.Some came to Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the late 1800s; others removed to Aberdeen, Scotland.. This John was born in Dalmellington in 1735, son of David McM and Margaret McConnell..


A full description of the Scottish families will be contained in a much larger booklet to be prepared at a later date.There are also more in depth discussions of the Maybole, Kirkmichael, Dalrympe, Dailly McMurtries in other files on the MCFR website.There are also detailed descendancy lists of all 58 Scottish families on the website.



Ref:ScotfamF.94Feb 94; revised March 2008; July 2009