Show ContentsDees History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

An ancient Pictish-Scottish family was the first to use the name Dees. It is a name for someone who lived in Angus (in the modern region of Tayside), and claim descent from Gaelic MacDhai, son of David. [1]

Early Origins of the Dees family

The surname Dees was first found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire, where they were descended from the Gaelic MacDhai, son of David. From the 13th century onward the name was anglicized MacDavid, Davidson, Deasson and Deas. The branches using Deas and Deasson settled in Angus and in Banffshire at the end of the fifteenth century.

"James Dais is recorded in Dundee, 1611, and Mr. John Daes in Huntliewood, 1638. James Daes was minister of the church of Ersiltoune, 1643. Andrew Daes, stabler, appears in Edinburgh, 1627, and David Daes, tailor there, 1666." [2]

Early History of the Dees family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dees research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1638, 1627, 1677, 1804 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Dees History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dees Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, there was no basic set of rules and scribes wrote according to sound. The correct spelling of Scottish names were further compromised after many haphazard translations from Gaelic to English and back. Spelling variations of the name Dees include Deas, Dease, Deasey, Deasy, Dais, Daes, Deasson, Deason, Dasone and many more.

Early Notables of the Dees family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Dees Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dees Ranking

In the United States, the name Dees is the 3,422nd most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Dees family to Ireland

Some of the Dees family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dees migration to the United States +

Scots left their country by the thousands to travel to Australia and North America. Desperate for freedom and an opportunity to fend for themselves, many paid huge fees and suffered under terrible conditions on long voyages. Still, for those who made the trip, freedom and opportunity awaited. In North America, many fought their old English oppressors in the American War of Independence. In recent years, Scottish heritage has been an increasingly important topic, as Clan societies and other organizations have renewed people's interest in their history. An examination of passenger and immigration lists shows many early settlers bearing the name of Dees:

Dees Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Emanl Dees, who landed in Virginia in 1696 [4]
Dees Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Dees, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1875 [4]
Dees Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • William J. Dees, aged 23, who settled in America from Harttspool, England, in 1913
  • John Dees, aged 53, who immigrated to the United States from Cardiff, Wales, in 1917
  • Michel Dees, aged 22, who landed in America from Paris, France, in 1919
  • William James Dees, aged 30, who landed in America from W. Hartlepool, England, in 1920
  • H. H. Dees, aged 31, who landed in America, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Dees (post 1700) +

  • Benny Dees (1934-2021), American college basketball head coach of the University of New Orleans Privateers team from 1985 to 1987
  • Robert Leslie Dees, American NFL football defensive tackle
  • Archie William Dees (1936-2016), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Mary Ella Dees (1911-2004), American stage and screen actress
  • James Parker Dees (1915-1990), American founder and first bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Anglican Communion
  • Anthony "Tony" Michael Dees (b. 1963), American Olympic hurdler
  • Morris Seligman Dees Jr. (b. 1936), American co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
  • Wilbur G. Dees, American politician, Mayor of Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1952-53 [5]
  • Melanie Dees, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Maine, 2004 [5]
  • John Dees, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1964 [5]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. 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)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook