This notable Scottish surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac Greigair". The Gaelic prefix "Mac" denotes "son of", and the personal name Griogan or Gregory comes from the ancient Greek (200 B.C.) "Gregorios", a derivative of "gregorian", to be awake or watchful. This name was borne by two 4th century fathers of the Orthodox Church, St. Gregory Nazianzene, and St. Gregory of Nyssa, but it was St. Gregory the Great, first Pope of the name, who spread its popularity in Western Europe. The legendary ancestor of the McGregor clan is the 10th century King Girig, fourth in succession from Kenneth 1, and termed "Gregory the Great" in feudal documents. His name is probably a derivative of the Gaelic "cir", comb, crest, but from an early date was associated with Gregory. The M(a)cGregors are reputed to have had "the redeeming merit of picturesqueness, and for that reason they occupy a larger place in Scottish literature than any other Highland clan". During the Middle Ages the clan acquired a reputation for lawlessness, and the name M(a)cGregor was proscribed in a 1603 Act of Parliament. Nevertheless, it has survived in large numbers. A Coat of Arms granted to the McGregors of Perthshire is a silver shield, with an oak tree eradicated in bend sinister proper, surmounted of a sword in bend supporting on its point, in the dexter canton, an antique crown proper, the Crest being a lion's head erased crowned with an antique crown proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Duncan McGregere, which was dated 1292, in the "Scottish Name Register", during the reign of Robert 1, known as "Robert the Bruce", 1306 - 1329. 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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