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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Mahaffey family come from? What is the Scottish Mahaffey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Mahaffey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Mahaffey family history?

The ancestors of the Mahaffey family lived among the Strathclyde people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. Their name is derived from the Gaelic personal name Debshithe, which means the black man of peace.


The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Mahaffey has appeared as Mahaffy, Mehaffy, MacHaffie, Mahaffie, McHaffie, MacHaffy, McHaffy, MacGilhaffie, McGilhaffie, MacGilhaffy, McGilhaffy, MacKilhaffy, McKilhaffy, MacKilhaffie, McKilhaffie, MacIlhaffie, McIlhaffie, MacIlhaffy, McIlhaffy, MacCaffee, McCaffee, MacCaffie, McCaffie, McCaffy, MacCaffy, Milhaffie, Milhaffy, Mahalfie, Mahalfy and many more.

First found in Wigtown (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhaile na h-Uige), formerly a county in southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, where they held a family seat from very early times. This distinguished Clan was originally known as the Clan MacKilhaffy and held a family seat at Craig Caffe in the parish of Inch.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mahaffey research. Another 228 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1320 and 1540 are included under the topic Early Mahaffey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Mahaffey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Mahaffey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 232 words(17 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


As the persecution of clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Mahaffey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • William Mahaffey, who arrived in America in 1796

Mahaffey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John Mahaffey, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1821
  • Robert Mahaffey, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1821
  • John Mahaffey landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • George Mahaffey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1864
  • Wade Mahaffey, aged 36, who settled in America, in 1892

Mahaffey Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • M. Mahaffey, who emigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • Nelly Mahaffey, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1908
  • L.T. Mahaffey, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • W.T. Mahaffey, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Margaret Mahaffey, aged 25, who landed in America, in 1909


  • Arthur "Art" Mahaffey (b. 1938), American Major League Baseball player
  • John Drayton Mahaffey Jr. (b. 1948), American PGA professional golfer
  • Matt Mahaffey (b. 1973), American musician
  • Mike Mahaffey (1967-2005), American musician
  • Randolph Mahaffey (b. 1945), American former professional ABA basketball player
  • Valerie Mahaffey (b. 1953), Indonesian-born, American actress who won an Emmy Award for her work on Northern Exposure
  • Fred Keith Mahaffey (1934-1986), United States Army General, Commander in chief, United States Readiness Command (1985 to 1986)
  • Maryann Mahaffey (1925-2006), former Member of the Detroit City Council


  • Arthur Ellison of Adams County, Ohio and some of his Descendants and Relatives by Floyd Vernon Ellison.
  • Mahaffey Descendants by Estelle Kinports Davis.

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  1. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  3. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  4. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  5. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  6. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Mahaffey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Mahaffey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 September 2014 at 13:13.

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