Ogilvie Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Ogilvie Meaning
is a place-name near Glamis in the former county
of Angus on the east coast of Scotland. It was first recorded
around the year.1205 in the form of Ogilvin. The
name is thought to have derived from a Celtic
word ugl meaning “high” and
ma “place.”
The resulting
surname has generally been Ogilvie,
although the first Ogilvies who took the name and a few others have
continued to style themselves

By the time of the 1891 census 53% of Ogilvies in Scotland were still
in Angus. They had spread elsewhere in Scotland. But larger
numbers had moved overseas.

Ogilvie Resources on

Ogilvie Ancestry

times Angus was ruled by a mormaer who was one of the ancient Celtic
nobles of
Scotland who became the first earls. The
Mormaer of Angus title became the Earl of Angus and Gillebride, Earl of
gave the Ogilvie lands to his son, Gilbert, around 1172. He
assumed the surname of Ogilvy

Patrick de Ogilvy appeared on the Ragman Rolls swearing fealty to King
Edward I in 1296. But his two sons both supported Robert the
Bruce in the Wars of Independence. Sir Walter Ogilvy was
appointed Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1425 and his grandson
James named Lord Ogilvy of Airlie in 1491. These Ogilvies adhered
loyalty to the Stuart cause throughout the troubled times from 1640 to
1745, from the
English Civil War to Culloden
. Lord and Lady Ogilvy
escaped to
France after Culloden, but were later pardoned.

Cadet branches of the Ogilvies, who styled themselves Ogilvie, became
the Earls of Findlater in 1638
and Seafield in 1701. Patrick Ogilvie, born in 1623, was the
first of the Ogilvies of Auchiries near Aberdeen. Today the principal
Ogilvy seat is at Cortachy.
They still hold Airlie castle which was rebuilt as a mansion in 1793
after the Campbells had destroyed the castle in 1640.

There were other Ogilvie lines in and around Angus and other Ogilvie

  • John Ogilvie, born in 1579, was the son of a wealthy laird at
    Keith in nearby Banffshire. He became a Catholic priest, but was
    captured, tortured and hanged in 1615. John Ogilvie was canonized by
    the Catholic church in 1976.
  • and William Ogilvie of Pittensear, who claimed descent from the
    Pict Gillebride, was known as the rebel professor. He was author
    of the influential treatise An Essay
    on the Right of Property in Land
    that was published in

Ogilvie family established itself on the Scottish borders in the 18th
century where they managed estates for the country gentry there.
They made their own home at Holefield near Kelso in Roxburghshire.
Will Ogilvie of this family departed for Australia in 1889 and
spent twelve years in the Australian outback where his prose and
poetry written there captivated an audience back home.

England. Ogilvies in England
were generally transplanted
Scotsmen, the best-known being David Ogilvy, the advertising guru, who
was born
near London in 1911. His
father Francis had been
a Gaelic-speaking Scotsman who was both a classics scholar and a
stockbroker. His family had originally
from Edinburgh, moved to Inverness, while Francis
himself had been
born in Argentina where his father had temporarily settled

America. The Ogilvie numbers that emigrated to America
have not been that large.

An early Ogilvie was the Rev. John Ogilvie, born in
New York in 1724, and the son of a British army officer there.
William Ogilvie came to New York from Scotland in 1745. A
descendant was Judge Peter Ogilvie, a general in the War of 1812.
A later descendant was the Hudson river painter Clinton Ogilvie.

After the Culloden defeat in 1745 Charles Ogilvie from the Auchiries
line migrated to South Carolina where he was a member of the Charleston
firm of Ogilvie & Ward which exported rice to
Europe. He also ran his own plantation at Myrtle Grove. He
was a Loyalist who departed Charleston
after the defeat in 1783 (although his children did return to

Caribbean. Several
Ogilvies established themselves in the Caribbean in the late 18th
century, including Sir John Ogilvie of Inverquharity who owned
plantations in Antigua. His son Adam was foully murdered there in

It was said that two Ogilvie brothers travelled to the Caribbean, one
settling in Jamaica and the other in Grenada. George Ogilvie,
died in 1791, did own a sugar plantation called Langley’s in
Jamaica. Another George Ogilvie was born in Grenada in
1806. George Robertson Ogilvie settled
in Falmouth, Jamaica
some time later; while Dr. James Ogilvie was mayor of Kingston, Jamaica
in the 1870’s.

Canada. Alexander Ogilvie came to the Montreal area from
Stirling in Scotland in 1800 and soon built for himself a small grist
mill. That enterprise – which was passed onto his sons Alexander,
John and William – marked the start of his family’s long association
with the Canadian milling industry. By the 1870’s they were
dominating the grain milling business of the newly-developed Canadian
prairies. The dynasty ended with the death of two of the brothers
in 1900 and 1902. The 1904 book The
Ogilvies of Montreal
by John Gemmill narrated their family

A later Montreal arrival, James Ogilvy from Angus, started a small dry
goods store there in 1866. The store thrived and stayed in family
hands until 1927. It remains today in Montreal as La Maison Ogilvy. William Ogilvie,
the son of Scots Irish immigrants, was an important figure in the
Canadian West, being at various times between 1870 and 1900 land
surveyor, explorer, and commissioner of the Yukon territory.

Australia. David Ogilvy
born in Edinburgh, a budding
lawyer, and an acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott – emigrated to
Australia in 1839
and settled at South Yarra near Melbourne where he practiced as a
lawyer. He
called his home Airlie and grew grapes

Yulgibar castle in the Clarence valley in NSW was built by Edward
Ogilvie, a cattle grazier who had established his ranch there in
1840. It took Ogilvie and his German builders six years to build
this grandiose 40-room structure. At the time it was completed
the station had its own vineyard, stables, school house, and gateway
cottage. Edward lived in the castle until his death in
1896. He was the son of William Ogilvie who had arrived in Sydney
London in 1825.

New Zealand.
Charles and Edith Ogilvie came to New Zealand via Australia in
1914. Their family history, plus the earlier history of the
Ogilvies, was put together by a descendant Gordon Ogilvie in his 2002
book Picts and Porridge.


Ogilvie Miscellany

The Ogilvys During the Civil War.  Sir Thomas
Ogilvy raised his own regiment to fight for the Royalists, but he was
killed at
the Battle of Interlochy in 1645.  His
eldest son Lord Ogilvy fought at the Battle of Philiphaugh in the same
when the Royalists were surprised by a strong force of Covenanter

was captured and was awaiting execution at St. Andrew’s Castle when his
visited him and managed to exchange clothes with him.
He passed out of the castle unnoticed by the
guards.  Ogilvy lived to see the

The Ogilvys After Culloden.  Young David
Lord Ogilvy, just twenty, joined the standard of Bonnie Prince Charlie
Edinburgh in 1745 at the head of a regiment of six hundred men, mostly
of his
own clan and name.   After the defeat
Culloden, he effected his escape to France.
There he rose to the rank of lieutenant-general and had the
command of a
regiment called “Ogilvy’s own.”

after Culloden, Margaret Lady Ogilvy was lying a prisoner under
sentence of
death in the castle of Edinburgh.
Fortunately she was not so strictly and closely confined in her
cell.  Many of her friends and
acquaintances were allowed to visit her in prison.

ugly deformed old woman, with an ungainly
hitch in her walk, also came to the prison once or twice a week to
clean her
linen.  Lady Ogilvy kept practicing her
step until she became quite proficient in it. She then communicated to
friends her design of using it and the poor old woman’s clothes to
effect her
escape.   One
evening, taking up here basket, she
assumed the old washerwoman’s limping gait and walked past the sentinel
guard and escaped the castle precincts.  And
she, like young David Ogilvy, escaped to France.

The Rev. John Ogilvie of New York.  The son
of a British army officer from Scotland, John Ogilvie was born in New
York City
in 1724.  He graduated from Yale
University in 1748 and was ordained in London in 1749.

He served as rector at St. Peter’s Anglican
church in Albany from 1749 to 1760.  This
period coincided with the Seven Years War against the French, during
which time
he served as chaplain to the British army.
His Albany home was a gathering place for English speakers while
instructed more than a hundred Dutch-speaking local children.  He kept a diary of that time and also some
poetry which have been handed down.

the next few years he served as a missionary to the Mohawk Indians at
Hunter and at Niagara in Canada.  In 1764
he was named rector of Trinity church in New York City.  He died
there in 1774
and was buried in the family vault in Trinity churchyard.

David Ogilvy in South Yarra.  David and Elizabeth Ogilvy and their family attended their local Presbyterian
church in
South Yarra, Victoria every Sunday.  It
was a custom that David never used his carriage and coachman on a
saying it was a day of rest.  So the
family would walk down Punt Hill to the Yarra river to take a punt
across.  If going to church, the punt man
was not
permitted to charge passengers, but David insisted on paying.

Ogilvy was a much respected member of
the community.  He died in 1871 and there
is a plaque in the church which reads:

the memories of David Ogilvy esquire, an old colonist, eminent for his
gifts and spiritual graces; revered by all relations of life, a husband
father, wise, tender and affectionate, as a lawyer, as a citizen,
foremost in
every good work, as an elder of this congregation a nd of the
Church of Victoria, distinguished by scrupulous attention to every
duty, by
prayerfulness and self=denial, by humility and meekness, by a ready an
generous liberality, by zeal for the glory of god, by compassion for
the souls
of men.  To him, to live was Christ, to
die was again.”

Reader Feedback – George Ogilvie in Jamaica.  I have
been researching the family of a George Ogilvie who owned the Langley
Plantation in Jamaica.  This man who
owned the plantation and a house in Angus called Langley House married
Dundas in 1785 and then died in 1791 leaving his fortune to his
fourteen year-old
niece.  Quite a long and intriguing story
that I have been digging into for the last few years.

Chris Hicks (chrishicksbookbinder@btinternet.com)

Reader Feedback – George Robertson Ogilvie in Jamaica.  I was shocked to see the mention of my great great grandfather, George Robertson Ogilvie.   My cousin and I
have had a difficult time trying to find supporting evidence that
George Robertson Ogilvie was born in Scotland or Jamaica.

Our family story was there were three
brothers who left Scotland for Jamaica, Grenada and Canada.  The earliest information we have is George
Robertson Ogilvie and his wife, Catherine Campbell died in Trelawny,
Jamaica in

have searched high and low for information pertaining to when
George Robertson Ogilvie was born, the location of his birth,
and who his
parents were and his siblings.  Also, we have had the same
difficulty with
his wife, Catherine Campbell.  When she was born, the location of
birth and who her parents were.

you can provide me with any information about George Robertson
Ogilvie it
would be greatly appreciated.

Yvonne Ogilvie (yvonneogilvie@ymail.com)

William Ogilvie in the Yukon.  William Ogilvie
first came to the Yukon in 1887, leading a small team to survey
Canada’s border
with Alaska.  Buzz about possible gold in
the Yukon began to build and eventually Ogilvie recommended that Ottawa
step up
its presence there.  In 1895 twenty
policemen were stationed at Forty Mile and Ogilvie returned to the
Yukon to
continue surveying the Alaska border.

the Klondike Gold Rush broke out in 1896, prospectors descended on the
and Eldorado creeks in a chaotic scramble for gold.
They measured out and marked their own claims
through the thick bush – an inevitably hasty and haphazard process –
and soon
the boundaries of the Klondike claims were a complete mess.   It was up to William Ogilvie to set

Ogilvie surveyed the
claims, he found an overwhelming number – roughly three quarters –
marked.  The stakes and the tensions were
high.  With such rich deposits below,
fortunes were to be gained and lost as Ogilvie went about straightening
boundaries of the claims.  Pros­pectors
and miners trust­ed Ogilvie, a res­pect­ed official known for his
work as well as for his honesty and impartiality, which al­lowed a
level of calm and order to reign over the gold fields.

may not have made a mint.  But he played a
vital role in the Klondike
before, during and after the gold rush.
He installed law and order in the gold fields, surveyed the
town-site of Dawson City, and from 1898 to 1901 was commissioner of

John Ogilvie’s Canonization in 1976.  John Ogilvie’s
canonization in Rome in 1976 made him the first Scottish saint since Queen
Margaret of Scotland in 1250.  He had
been beatified and given the title of Blessed in 1929.
The campaign to have him raised to the
sainthood was successful after the recovery from cancer of a
Glasgow docker, John Fagan, in 1967 was declared a miracle and
attributed to
John Ogilvie.

only a short time to
live, he was unable to eat because of stomach cancer and his weight
dropped to
five stones. Then one morning he woke and startled his wife by saying:
hungry.”  To the astonishment of his
doctors, Mr. Fagan went on to make a full recovery and was present at
canonization at the Vatican.

Fagan’s parish in Glasgow was named after John Ogilvie and the Catholic
in the Burnbank area of Hamilton in south Lanarkshire was named the
Ogilvie High School.


Ogilvie Names

  • Sir Walter Ogilvy was appointed Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1425.
  • Alexander Ogilvie was the
    founder of the Ogilvie grain milling empire in Canada in the 19th century.
  • David Ogilvy was the advertising executive, the head of Ogilvy & Mather, who has been widely hailed as the father of advertising.

Select Ogilvie Numbers Today

  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Angus)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Ogilvie and Like Surnames 

These surnames originated from the northern part of Scotland, either the northeast of the country, the Scottish Highlands, or in one case (the surname Linklater) the Orkney isles north of Scotland.




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