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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

Where did the Irish McKee family come from? When did the McKee family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McKee family history?

As a native Irish name, McKee is derived from the Gaelic "Mag Aodha," or "son of Hugh," while others of the name in Ireland, are ultimately of Scottish origin.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Magee, Macgee, Mcgee, McGahee, McGhee and others.

First found in along the border of counties Donegal and Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they are thought to be descended from the Colla Uais. The McKee surname has also been long associated with County Antrim, because of the peninsula at Lough Larne, known as the Island Magee which was part of their early Ulster territories. Before the Norman invasion in the 12th century, a Magee was chief of a Sept in county Westmeath. Today, the name is most common in Ulster; however, most of these bearers are of Scottish descent.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKee research. Another 292 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1717, 1755, 1766, 1821, 1825, 1830, 1831, 1846, 1868, 1880, and 1891 are included under the topic Early McKee History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 32 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McKee Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert McKee, who arrived in New England in 1739
  • Hugh McKee, who landed in America in 1795

McKee Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Nancy McKee, aged 16, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Pat McKee, aged 14, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Agnes McKee, who landed in America in 1804
  • Andrew McKee, who landed in South Carolina in 1807
  • Gabriel McKee, who landed in America in 1811


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  • Rear Admiral Andrew I. McKee (1896-1976), American submarine pioneer
  • Christopher Fulton McKee (b. 1942), American astrophysicist
  • Tywain "Ty" McKee (b. 1986), American professional basketball player
  • Hugh Wilson McKee (1844-1871), American naval officer, eponym of the USS McKee (DD-575), a Fletcher-class destroyer and the USS McKee (DD–87), a Wickes class destroyer
  • Maria Luisa McKee (b. 1964), American singer and songwriter
  • Lafayette S. "Lafe" McKee (1872-1959), American actor who appeared in over 400 films
  • Raymond McKee (1892-1984), American actor from Iowa who appeared in 173 films
  • Colonel Alexander McKee (1735-1799), Irish-born, American agent for the British Indian Department during the French and Indian War, and the American Revolutionary War, eponym of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
  • Brigadier-General John Lloyd McKee (1895-1963), American Assistant Commanding General 87th Division (1942-1945)
  • General William Fulton McKee (1906-1987), American Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force (1962-1964)

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  • Ancestors of Our Children by Wells Laflin Field.
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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
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This page was last modified on 12 October 2014 at 22:28.

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