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 - 2015

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terry w. mckay

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


McKay - there is a capital 'K!'

Brytanie McKay

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

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...,

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

April Mackey
Would love to know more about my late family

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

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

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

Helen McDonnell
Maybe it went across by plane?

G Mckay
My name also came from Jamaica, and the strange thing is as a mixed raced Black with white mother i have a few ginger hairs in my beard so somewhere along the line the genes came from scotland along with the name

Same here, My parents are actually Jamaican

Faith Mckay
I have an assignment on and I need to find information on the name McKay ASAP!

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

trishanna mckay
Irish , my ancestors are heard are from Ireland. but i am from Jamaica . so I'm called "Blacq Irish" Loving it.

Gayle McKay
My great grandfather came to New Zealand from Armoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland with his family in 1893. My family tree has gone back two more generations.

Susan McKay
Very proud to be a direct descendant of the McKay clan! Manu Forte!

melissa mckay
I'm a Mckay and very proud of my clan , I would love to learn more of out clan history.

Edward Joseph McKay Jr.
most distant McKay I have is from Ireland WIlliam McKay/Margaret Meadly Ulster, Antrim, Ireland (Born 1776)

lauren mckay
maybe one more generation.?.. i always thought i was a hightlander gotta prove it some how

lauren mckay
well im a mckay as well but ive only found that my gg grandparents were from portugal ..cant go back farther or so it seems

Aaron McKay
proud to be a McKay MANU FORTI

Angela McKay
I love seeing so many McKays on here!

Daniel McKay
the clan McKay descends from the celts picts and vikings it is an irish and scottish name the scottish variant being MacKay

Eric McKay
What I myself have found is that McKay is both Irish and Scottish. Considering the term scot is from the gaelic term scotus thus meaning Irish Scot. Just what I have researched so far.

Amber McKay
i think the name is irish with maybe a little scottish mixed.

Chad MacGregor
The surname McKay is Scottish - strictly. The only Irish people who have the surname McKay are those from Scottish backgrounds - i.e the large migration of Lowland Scots who immigrated to Northern Ireland during the Ulster Plantation who are known today as "Scotch-Irish". This database mistakes too many Scottish surnames for Irish.

Julie Mckay.Newcastle Upon Tyne
I have always believed the name is Scottish, i find it rather interesting that the name goes back so far....

Angus McKay
McKay is a Scottish name! People with the name left Scotland and settled in Ireland, that said the name is Scottish of Pictish origin. Angus McKay - Isleoronsay, Skye, Scotland, EU

Kacey McCay
Yea, its from ancient Pictish clan in areas of Caithness and Sutherland.

Origin of Clan MacKay
The aged and weak they have sworn to protect By the "Strong Hand" and kind watchful eye. For faithful in friendship and valiant in war Has aye been the Clan of MacKay.

Kacey McCay
Norse-Pictish* I meant to put.