Ogilvie Surname Genealogy

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 Austrlalian 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

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

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
was the advertising executive, the head of Ogilvy & Mather, who has been
widely hailed as the father of advertising.

Select Ogilvies 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)




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