Caw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the Caw family were part of a tribe called the Picts. The name Caw is derived from the personal name Aodh, a cognate of Hugh. The Gaelic form of the name is usually Mac Aoidh and in Inverness, the Gaelic form of the name Caw is Mac Ai.

"Nothing certain is known of the origin of the northern Mackays beyond the fact that they were early connected with Moray, and may have been a part of the ancient Clann Morgunn. The Inverness-shire Mackays are usually called in Gaelic Mac Ai, that is, MacDhai, or Davidson; they formed a branch of Clan Chattan." [1]

Early Origins of the Caw family

The surname Caw was first found in Sutherland (Gaelic: Cataibh), a former county in northern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Highland, where early records show that Gilcrest M'Ay, forefather of the MacKay family of Ugadale, made a payment to the constable of Tarbert in 1326. It is claimed that the Clan is descended from the royal house of MacEth.

Early History of the Caw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caw research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1408, 1411, 1429, 1329, 1506, 1575, 1873, 1940, 1640, 1692, 1689, 1726, 1692 and are included under the topic Early Caw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caw Spelling Variations

The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Caw has been spelled MacKay, MacCay, MacQuey, MacQuoid, MacKaw, MacKy, MacKye, MacCoy, McCoy and many more.

Early Notables of the Caw family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Hugh Mackay (c. 1640-1692), Scottish general, Major-General Commanding in Chief in Scotland in 1689, killed at the Battle of Steinkeerke; and...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Caw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Caw family to Ireland

Some of the Caw family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 133 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Caw migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Caw Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Caw, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 22nd September 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Edmond Caw, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tory" in 1851 [3]
  • Emma Caw, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tory" in 1851 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Caw (post 1700) +

  • John Young Caw (1810-1858), Scottish banker and miscellaneous writer, born at Perth about 1810, but passed the last thirty years of his life in Manchester [4]


The Caw Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Manu forti
Motto Translation: With a strong hand.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th February 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eliza
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TORY 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Tory.htm
  4. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 25 Nov. 2019


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