This surname is of 13th century Scottish Gaelic origins. It derives from one of the oldest Gaelic personal names whose antecedents (quote) "go far away beyond those of even our old names". As MacPhee, MacFee, MacFie, and MacPhie, all are developments of the pre 10th century Mac Dhubhshith, which translates literally as "The son of dark peaceful one". This is from the ancient words mac, meaning son of, with dubh, dark, and sith, peaceful, although as shown by the example below, other interpretations are very possible. It is said that in medieval times a family of the island of North Uist were known as Dubh-sidh, with the understood meaning of Black fairy. This came from a tradition that the family had been familiar with the fairies in their flights and secret migrations, but is more likely to relate to the strength of the local brew! The following recordings taken from surviving rolls and charters illustrate the name development and include those of Archibald McKofee in the year 1506, Morphe Mcphe in 1531, whilst James MacPhee, was a notorious freebooter who as late as 1845 established himself in Loch Quoich "recognizing no law or land owner". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Macdufthi. This was dated 1214, in the county of Dumfriesshire, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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