Recorded in many forms including McElmurray, McIlmurray, McIlmorie, McIlmorow, Kilmary, Kilmurray, Kilmurry, and possibly others, this is a Gaelic surname. It is most recorded in the North of Ireland and specifically in the province of Ulster, as well as in Scotland. The derivation is from the medieval "Mac giolla Mhuire", which translates as "the son of the follower of Mary", no doubt a reference to the Virgin Mary, whose cult was particularly active during the period known as the Christian Revival. This coincided with the many crusades to the Holy Land to try to free Jerusalem from the power of the Mulsims. All were unsuccessful, but a popular practise of the times was for returning Knight Templars to call their children by biblical names, and one of the most popular was Mary. It is said that originally this surname was most associated with counties Fermanagh and Tyrone where it is also sometimes abbreviated as Murray, although this is more strictly a Scottish surname. In Scotland itself the name is first recorded in 1526, when Donald McIlmorow, a follower of the earl of Cassilis, was charged with murder, and in 1594 when Donald McIlmorie was resident at Rothesay. Amongst the early refugees from the infamous Potato Famine of 1846 - 1848 was Michael McMorry. He sailed on the ship "Cambridge of Liverpool" for New York on May 8th 1846, and slightly later on March 23rd 1847, Ellen Kilmurray sailed on the ship "Sea of the World" also of Liverpool, and also bound for New York.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017