Show ContentsKees History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the Kees family were part of a tribe called the Picts. The name Kees 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 Kees 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 Kees family

The surname Kees 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 Kees family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kees 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 Kees History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kees Spelling Variations

The appearance of the printing press and the first dictionaries in the last few hundred years did much to standardize spelling. Prior to that time scribes spelled according to sound, a practice that resulted in many spelling variations. Kees has been spelled MacKay, MacCay, MacQuey, MacQuoid, MacKaw, MacKy, MacKye, MacCoy, McCoy and many more.

Early Notables of the Kees 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 Kees Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kees Ranking

In the United States, the name Kees is the 10,057th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Kees family to Ireland

Some of the Kees 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.

United States Kees migration to the United States +

The expense of the crossing to the North American colonies seemed small beside the difficulties of remaining in Scotland. It was a long and hard trip, but at its end lay the reward of freedom. Some Scots remained faithful to England and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others fought in the American War of Independence. Much of this lost Scottish heritage has been recovered in the last century through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Kees:

Kees Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Kees, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [3]
  • Johan Peter Kees, who arrived in New York in 1709 [3]
  • Fable Kees, aged 20, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [3]
  • Peter Kees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753 [3]
  • Joh Philip Kees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1774 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kees (post 1700) +

  • Frederick G. Kees (1852-1927), American architect, co-founder of the Kees and Colburn architectural fiorm
  • Frank M. Kees Jr., American politician, Mayor of Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1950-55 [4]
  • Kees Torn (b. 1967), Dutch comedian
  • Kees Teer (1925-2021), Dutch electrical engineer and director of the Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium from 1968 until 1985
  • Kees Wiese (1936-2020), Dutch journalist, writer and poet from Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Kees van Buuren (b. 1986), Dutch football defender
  • Kees de Wit (1924-1993), Dutch soil scientist and plant breeder
  • Kees Brusse (1925-2013), Dutch actor, film director and screenwriter
  • Kees Kist (b. 1952), Dutch retired football striker
  • Kees Lensing (b. 1978), Namibian rugby union player

The Kees 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook