The United States McCraw
What DO we know about William I? Most of the information that we have about William comes from his Will that was executed in 1748 and later probated in 1752 in what was then Cumberland County, in the Colony of Virginia. Because of his presence in this area of Virginia, McCraw researchers feel it is almost certain that this is the same William Maccraw that appears on tithe lists for what was then Goochland County, Virginia, in 1746. Based on this we know that William came to the Colonies some time before 1746 and that he had died by 1752 – 24 years before the American Revolution.
We also know that William had at least NINE children: Francis, Elizabeth, William II, Samuel, James, Dancy, Edward, Stephen, Benjamin – eight sons and one daughter. We are unsure who William’s wife was; she must have died prior to the execution his will in 1748 as she is not named and William’s will makes provisions for some of his younger children to be cared for by Francis, his oldest son. Family lore says that her name could have possibly been Elizabeth Dancy, and while the names Elizabeth and Dancy are very prevalent in the family for several generations we have never seen any evidence that would prove her identity.
One of the current projects being undertaken by our Association is a detailed search of land records in Virginia led by our Past Association President Steven McGraw and his brother Tony McGraw. Steve and Tony have been working for years to find our family’s original ‘homeplace’ in America. Through research and mapping they have determined that our family lived in what is now current day Powhatan County, VA. They reported to the Association at the 2018 reunion that they feel they are very close and we anticipate a breakthrough very soon. Based on this research, our Association held its 2014 Reunion nearby in Midlothian, VA, and our members were able to visit the area near where the family farm probably existed and were able to travel the same roads that our ancestors traveled.
The first member of our family that we can confirm in America was William Maccraw. We refer to him as William I (William One). We know relatively little about William I and how he came to America. Family lore tells us that he came here from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Thus far we haven’t been able to find any records for William that tell us where he came from or when or how he arrived here. Through our DNA project, the US McCraw Family Association has been able to establish without a doubt that our family originated in Ireland -- but there is about an 800 year gap in the lineage between our origins as members of the Clan McGrath in Ireland and William appearing in America. It’s that 800 year gap that we as an Association are attempting to close by continuing to do both DNA research and traditional genealogical research. It is entirely possible that our family did end up in Scotland and were part of the Clan MacRae but thus far we have not been able to make this link. The Clan MacRae Society of North America has tentatively concluded based on DNA research that one large group of Scottish MacRaes, the Kintail or “Dalriada” MacRaes, are not migrants from Ireland but part of the aboriginal population of Scotland and are thus unrelated to us.
Do you want to be a part of this? Do you want to discover your ancestors and be able to walk in the footsteps of this family from whom almost all McCraws (and some of the McGraws!) living in America today are descended?
Please consider joining our Association today! All the information you need is on our “Join Us” page. We are the only source for the most complete genealogical reference books on our family: Carol McCraw’s “It is McCraw, not McGraw” as well as Dr. Faye Moore’s “McCraw Family History” that focuses on the results of our ongoing DNA project.
The answers to the unknown questions of our ancestry are out there and together we will find them. We hope you will join us on our journey of discovery!
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