Motto: Touch not the cat but a glove

The Clan MacGillivray is one of the oldest branches of Clan Chattan Conferation.  The name derives from the Gaelic MacGille-bhrath ‘son of the servant of judgement’.  The name may originally have been Maolbhrath, the Maol later being replaced by Gille as in other instances.  The MacGillivrays are of ancient origin and the names MacInnes and MacGillivray were one of the principal surnames of the time of Somerled in the area of Lochaber.  Different branches of the tribe may have formed one Clan under the denomination of Clan Gillivray.  

When Alexander I conquered Argyll in 1222, it seems that Clan Gillivray dispersed.  Some remained in the west in Mull and followed MacLean of Duart.  The majority placed themselves under the protection of the MacIntosh chiefs c.1268.  During the 15th century the MacGillivrays became established in Dunmaglas in Strathnairn and stayed there for four centuries.  

Three MacGillivrays signed the Clan Chattan bonds of union in the early 17th century.  They also played an important role on the Jacobite risings of the 18th century.  In 1745 Alexander of Dunmaglas was appointed to command Clan Chattan in the absence of the MacIntosh chief who remained loyal to the Hanoverians.  The Clan Chattan consisted mainly of Mackintoshes, Farquharsons, MacBeaths and MacGillivrays.  

Many MacGillivrays emigrated to North America where they thrived, prospering in the Canadian fur trade.