Recorded in many forms including MacCaughey, McCoughey, McAughey, MacGaffey, McGaffey, MacGiffie, McGaughey, McGahy, and McGiffie, and inspite of its similarity in sound to McCoffey or Coffee, the "roots" of this name are quite different, the MacCaughey clan being from the Ulster region. The Gaelic spelling is Mac Eachaidy, with Eachaidy being usually fused 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", with Eachaidh meaning lad or boy, and hence in a transferred sense, youthful or similar.It is said that as MacCahee, the clan was recorded in County Tyrone in 1685, however, in the modern forms early recordings include: John McGaihy in 1719; Jennet McCaughey in 1816; Lettitia McGiffie in 1829. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James M'Gachy. This was dated May 25th 1709, when he was a christening witness at Carmoney, County Antrim. This was during the reign of Queen Anne of England, known as "The Last Stuart Monarch", 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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