Recorded as MacCathay, McCathay, Cathay, Cathee, Cathie, and possibly others, this is a surname of Scottish origins. It Is said to originate from the Galloway region in South West Scotland, and the same sources suggest that it derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic personal name 'Cathain', given as being an early Irish saints name. This is possible, anything is possible with surnames, and particularly when a dash of religion is introduced. We would suggest though without proof either way, that it is equally likely to originate from the Gaelic word 'eachain' meaning 'son of Horse' or 'Little Horse,' as in the surname of the near same pronunciation McCaughey or Caughey. Whatever the origin the surname has been recorded for many centuries although the spelling was far from today's forms. The first recording may be that of Gilbert Makcathy, of Grange, Galloway, in 1481, and later that of Donald M'Cathie or McCathen of Rothesay in 1689. The short form as that of Janet Cathie is recorded at Dykeside, Fullertoun, in 1628, and in London, that of Clary Cathee who married Daniel King at Allhallows, London Wall, in 1664.
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