a one-name genealogy study of the surname McElrea
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Guild of One-Name Studies

The study into the McElrea name is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies.
Willis MacComb
Willis MacComb
Welcome to McElrea Genealogy, a registered one-name genealogical study focused on the surname McElrea and some of its variants: McElray, McElrae, McIlrea, McIlray...we even have a few Wrays.

The origin of this unusual surname is unknown. Is it a modern form of a native Irish name? Did it originate in Scotland? To the best of current knowledge, the home turf is Ulster and, more specifically, County Tyrone, in and around Omagh. From there, family groups emigrated to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America. Some went to England and Scotland as well, although less is known about those who chose to stay in the Old World rather than spread their wings in the New. Of course, some stayed at home in Ulster and prospered there.

We have started to record what we know here. Please visit often and let us know if you have anything to add to our knowledge of these interesting families. Who knows, you might meet a long lost cousin or two.


Most Wanted - I am looking for information about these ancestors. Can you help?

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Latest News
Mar 2015 McELRAY, Dennis - McElray, Dennis Edward Korean War Air Force Veteran; beloved father of Jeff (Mary Lou) McElray Sr., Joni McElray, Jeri (John) Mrowczynski and the late Jamie J. McElray; devoted grandfather of Amanda (Matt) Hunter, Derrick McElray, Andrea (Derrick) Bockenstedt, Jackie (Kevin) Smith, Christopher Hilbert, Candace Riddle, Jeffrey McElray II and Joey McLean; dear great-grandfather of 9; fond brother of Adra (the late Ed) Nawrocki, Marge Manak, Carol (the late Rich) Singer and the late James B. McElray Jr. Visitation Friday 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral service Saturday 10:00 a.m. at Lawn Funeral Home, 7909 State Road (5500 W), Burbank, IL 60459. Interment Bethania Cemetery. Funeral info: 708-636-2320. Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Mar. 19, 2015 - See more at:

Aug 2014 McELREA-SMITH ~ LABONTÉ Jason McElrea-Smith, son of Carol Ann McElrea and Kenneth Smith is to marry Catherine Labonté at the Ulverton United Church on August 23, 2014.

7 Jul 2014 - Recent DNA test results have shown a tentative link between the McElrea and Mylrea (from the Isle of Man) surnames. Further results should give us a better idea of how strong the link is.

18 Nov 2012 - A link with Wigtownshire, Scotland? It has come to our attention that there were people living in the parish of Stoneykirk, Wigtownshire in the 17th century with surnames similar to McElrea. One Michael McIlrea in Culmore was witness to a bond registered at Wigton (sic) Sheriff Court in June 1672. A subsequent search of the Wigtownshire genealogical site at Rootsweb turned up a list of 1684 parishioners of Stoneykirk. In Knockincrosh, we found Michael McKilrae (possibly the same one who was earlier in Culmore), Eupham McKilrae (following him on the list and so possibly his wife) and further down the list, Hellen McKilrae. As well, Maron McKilrae appears in Killeaster. We hope to find more by asking the Wigtownshire list for help.

8 Sept 2012 - The DNA project is showing results. We now know that the families tested in Canada and my own (PA>CA) are related! We don't know where the link is as yet, but it gives us hope and some clues. We can use all the contributors possible. For instance, my brother has a good autosomal match with Marjorie, but I have a much weaker match. This is because siblings receive different bits of DNA from their parents, so it pays to test a couple of people in each line.

8 Aug 2012 - DNA Articles - Cece Moore, a well known genetic genealogist, has written several articles about DNA testing and genealogy for beginners, which begin here:; each article has a link to the next. Cece also has a blog Your Genetic Genealogist with more information about autosomal DNA testing.

19 Nov 2011 - The McElrea DNA study can be found here: McElrea DNA Study. Discounts are available ONLY if kits are ordered from this page.

24 May 2011 - Another variant of the McElrea name has come to light. McYlrea (later changed to Mylrea) is found on the Isle of Man, which lies between Ireland and England. Just a quick look has found the name documented as far back as the 17th century. Now, the name is obviously Gaelic, but did it come from Ireland or .....?

13 May 2011 - Just for fun, here's a site about surnames. Judging by what they have for McElrea, the count is slightly off, but you might find something of interest here.