If you have been trying in vain to figure out how you are descended from Alexander Magruder, take heed!
It has long been believed that every Magruder and McGruder in America is descended from Alexander Magruder, who was brought to Maryland as a prisoner of war in the 1650s. I recently learned from Don McGruther in Scotland that other families came to the U.S. during later waves of immigration. Some of those families arrived via Ireland and their descendants today may think of themselves as Irish American.
Don would like to find any McGruthers, McGruders–or those with other versions of the family name, such as McGrew, McCrew, or McCrue–who came separately to North America. He has compiled extensive information from public records and may be able to help you trace your Scottish ancestors. If you are interested in having your DNA analyzed, it may also be possible to establish how closely you are related to Don’s line, to the Alexander Magruder line, or to others, even without a paper trail.
The spelling of your name might be a clue. In Scotland the name was spelled variously, with McGruther, McGruder, McGrudir, and McGrouther among the most common. Magruder is a uniquely American spelling, adopted from the signature on Alexander’s 1677 will. If your family arrived later, it’s most likely you are using one of the Scottish spellings–or perhaps a different spelling altogether. A few of Alexander’s descendants do use one of the Scottish versions of the name, so to find your line of descent you’ll need more clues than just the spelling…but it is one place to start.
If you know or believe you might be descended from later immigrants, please get in touch. You can write to Don at mcgruther(at)btopenworld.com, or contact me via the Contact tab at the top of this page.
Don’t be a stranger!