Last name: McKay

Recorded in many forms including MacKay, McKay, Mackey, MacHugh, Makee, and Makey, this is a surname which can be either Irish or Scottish. It derives from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic name MacAodh, with the prefix "Mac" indicating "son of", plus the personal name "Aodh" meaning "fire". It was originally the name of an early pagan god. Traditionally Gaelic family names are taken from the heads of tribes or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed. Sometimes in Ireland this is by O', meaning grandson or male descendant of, or in both Scotland and Ireland Mac, as above. The surname is however first recorded in Scotland in the early half of the 14th century (see below). Other early examples taken from early surviving charters include Malachy MacHugh, archbishop of Tuam who is recorded in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnois in 1313. Other later recordings taken from the registers of the diocese of Greater London include Lasabell Maky who married Edmund Harrison at Lincolns Inn Chapel on September 28th 1701, and Richard Makey, a witness at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on April 27th 1836. An interesting namebearer was Archibald McKay (1801 - 1883), poet and topographer, who published "My First Bawbee", a popular poem, in 1828. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilchrist M'ay, made payment to the constable of Tarbert, dated 1326. This is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

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Brandon Mackay
I'm a Mackay and I would love to find out more about my families history :)

Stuart McKay
My McKay name comes from Jamaica, but I can't find any information about the circumstances of how it got there....

Terry McKay
Hello guys great to see all of you on here are any of us related?

Rachel Quinlivan
My maiden name is McCay...I have no idea of my heritage. I am from the South East of the United States.

April Mackey
Would love to know more about my late family

So I'm wondering if the Jamaican part of McKay is also related to to the Irish part of McKay ?


Hi there the McKays ! I`m looking for any information on a John McKay who was in Derry in the late 50`s. He had a sister who was a nurse, who married into a farming family and lived just outside Fivemiletown, in Co. Tyrone at the same periode. Thanks for any information...,

Brytanie McKay

Proud to be a McKay. Never want to change my last name!!!

terry w. mckay

I'm a Mckay as well. I understand that my name derives from Scottish or Irish descent.

April Mckay
I can help any of you with the names of Mckay in the numerous spellings and McCoys are Mckays

Scott mckay
We derive from the picts an ancient tribe that was one of the first settlers in scotland from the highlands originally we travelled to Ireland hence why thers mckays there to

Maggie Mackay
Do we have Viking blood?

Elizabeth McKay
McKay'a unite

Tommy McKay
"Mackay" spelling comes from the highlands. The spelling "McKay" is the Lowlands of Scotland.

Mark McKay
Looks like the name McKay (Mine Own) or MacKay has the following Gaelic name spellings; MacAoidh or MacAodh respectively. After much digging about, the MacAoidh is indeed from the Highlands, with the latter from the Southern Uplands. I've managed to trace some of my kin back, and I seem to have the 'MacAoidh' links for McKay. I also know of another name-sake from over the pond, and his links come from the MacAodh (McKay - Southern Uplands) side of things, who ended up in the Argentina diamond mines! Going to keep on going with this, as it's something I'd never have though about. :D

Jasmine McKay
I am a McKay from California. My grandfather, whom I never met was a Native American from Ohio named Thomas McKay. I am African American as far as I know. I wonder how the surname crossed cultural barriers. If you have info please reach out at

Ellen McKay
Want to know were we came from

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