This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacGiolla Bhearaigh", which is composed of the element "Mac", son of, "giolla", servant of, devotee, and "Bhearaigh", the given name Barry; hence, "son of the servant of St. Barry". The Old Celtic "Bearrach", Barry, means "good marksman", and an Irish St. Bearach lived in the 6th Century. The name is peculiar in Ireland to north Connacht and Donegal, and is also a variant of the Scottish "MacGillivray", from the Gaelic "Mac Gille-bhrath", son of the servant of judgement, from "brath", judgement. The MacGillivrays were an old Argyllshire clan or sept, however, they are early found in association with the Macleans in Mull, which probably was their original home. One Duncan M'Gillewra, was witness at Glenurquhay in 1549, and Farquhar MacGillivray rented lands in Dunmaglas from Campbell of Cawdor in 1622. Recordings of the surname from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Gilbert Gillivray and Mary France on October 2nd 1768, at Edinburgh, Midlothian; the marriage of Nathan Gilvrey and Mary Hughes on July 23rd 1854, at St. Nicholas', Liverpool; and the christening of Patritius, son of Dionyslo and Catherina Gilvary on June 10th 1877, at Drumcliff and Magherow, County Sligo, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Archibald Makillewray, which was dated 1535, recorded at the Parish Church of St. Columba in Beandmoyll, Scotland, during the reign of King James V of Scotland, 1513 - 1542. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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