Recorded in many spelling forms including McGahey, McGahy, McGaugie, McGaugey, McGaugy and probably others, this is an ancient Gaelic surname. It is unclear as to exactly where the origin lies, the name being quite rare wherever it is found. The famous Irish etymologist the late Edward MacLysaght claimed that the name was from County Monaghan and a derivative of the pre 10th century Gaelic 'Eachaidh'. Since medieval times this has usually been reduced to Aghy or Oghy, and as such it remains a rare Christian name in modern Ireland.The precise translation of the surname is uncertain, but it is probably "The son of the youthful one", a reference to an early chief of the clan, who was either young to be a chief, or was very youthfull in his appearance. The development of the suname over the centuries has been varied and difficult to follow as most early records of Ireland were destroyed by the IRA in 1922, when they blew up the Public Records Office in Dublin. This cost the new Irish state many important records going further back into history than were to be found anywhere else in the world. From those recordings that have survived we have Elizabeth McGahy in 1711; Lettitia McGaghey in 1829; Francis McGaugey at Dungannon, County Tyrone, on April 1st 1866, and Terence McGaugie, who was christened at Blackfriars church, Glasgow, on August 13th 1875. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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