Recorded in many spelling forms including McCaughey, McGahey, McGahy, McGee, McGehey, and McGeagh, this is a Gaelic surname. It is arguably both Scottish and Irish, and has a similarility in sound to McCoffey although the roots are quite different, the McCaughey clan being from the Ulster region, and the McCoffey's from County Cork. The pre 10th century Gaelic spelling was MacEachaidy, with "Eachaidh" being usually 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", the word "eachaidh" being equivalent to the lad, or boy, or similar. Despite the many spelling forms all have the same source. It is said that as MacCahee, the clan was recorded in County Tyrone in 1685, however, in the modern forms early recordings include: Elizabeth McGahy (1711); John Caghy (1791); Jennet McCaughey (1816); Lettitia McGaghey (1829); and James McGeagh, whose daughter Mary was christened at Draperstown, Ulster, on November 1st 1866. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form may be that of James M'Gachy, which was dated May 25th 1709, a christening witness at Carmoney, County Antrim, during the reign of Queen Anne of England, 1702 - 1714. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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