Recorded in many spellings including Mackenzie, Mckenzie, Macenzy, Makkeney, and others, this is a distinguished Scottish surname. It has several entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and no less than twenty-one coats of arms. It is derired from Gaelic "MacCoinnich" or the son of Coinneach, a personal byname meaning "comely". Early forms of the name preserve the medieval Gaelic pronunciation which is "cainny". One Kanoth Makkanehy was noted in the records of the family of Rose of Kilravock", dated 1499, and Ewin Makkenye was "sone and air" to Kenyeoch Maksorle in the Black Isle in 1500. The following entry shows the nearest early approximation to the modern pronunciation: "Gilcrist Makkingze in Wigtownshire was charged with forethought felony in 1513", from the Criminal trials of Scotland. Notable bearers of the name include: George Mackenzie, first Vicount Tarbat and first Earl of Cromarty (1630 - 1714), who was appointed chief minister of the King of Scotland in 1682, and secretary of state, 1702, and Sir Morell Mackenzie (1837 - 1892), physician and specialist on throat diseases who, in 1887, was summoned to attend the crown prince of Germany, afterwards the Emperor Frederick 111. The coat of arms most associated with the name has the blazon of an azure shield charged with a gold stag's head cabossed, the crest being a mountain in flames, proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Makbeth Makkyneth, a witness at pleas held at Dull, in Angus, and dated 1264, in the chartulary of the priory of St. Andrew's. This was during the reign of King Alexander 111rd of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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