Are you an American McGruther or McGruder who is not descended from Alexander Magruder?

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), or contact me via the Contact tab at the top of this page.

Don’t be a stranger!

4 comments on “Are you an American McGruther or McGruder who is not descended from Alexander Magruder?


    1652 is the exact date Alexander Magruder arrived in the Maryland colony. Does anybody know whether he was a Covenanter or a Catholic?

    I am one of the Grays who descended from the Hill family of PG that married into the Magruders.

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Christopher. We have no direct information about Alexander’s religious beliefs, but the Drummond families for whom his father and brother served as Chamberlain were strong Covenanters and intermarried with other titled Protestant families in Central Scotland. Also, Ninian Beall, one of the executors of Alexander’s estate, was a key figure in the Presbyterian church in early Maryland. Even though we think of Maryland as a “Catholic colony,” Catholics were always in the minority there, even on the first shipload brought by the Calverts. Cheers! Susan

  2. Elizabeth McGruder says:

    Hello! I travel often for business and most reference that my married name is Scottish although all record in my husband’s family tree show that his great-grandfather arrived to Iowa via Ireland. Can you help guide me? We have not done dna tests or anything.

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Elizabeth. Don McGruther will be thrilled to hear from you, He is the one with information on the Irish connection. You can reach him at the email given above, mcgruther(at) Good luck in your search!

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