The name Ogilvie is derived from Ocel-Fa, which means high plain. The family descends from an ancient Earl of Angus and took its name from lands in Angus which were given to Gilbert, son of one of the Earls, by his father.
The Ogilvies held many positions all over Aberdeenshire, being Earls of Airlie, Findlater, Seafield and Deskford. In the 14th and 15th Centuries they were sheriffs of Angus. Branches of the family also came from Inverquharity, Lintrathen (later the Earls of Airlie) and Inchmartine.
The Ogilvies were royalists supporting Charles I and were also Jacobites supporting both the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. Lord Ogilvie turned out to fight at Culloden, fleeing to France after the battle was lost. The Earldom of Ogilvie was only restored to the family in 1896. The Earl of Seafield was a renowned supporter of the Act of Union of 1707 and, in more recent times, Ogilvies have distinguished themselves fighting for Britain.