MacCabee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The MacCabee family's roots in Ireland stretch back to the year 1350, when they were imported to Ireland as mercenaries, or gallowglasses, from Scotland by the Irish chiefs of the O'Rourkes and the O'Reillys of Leitrim and Cavan. This family was named for the peculiar headgear it wore: the name MacCabee comes from the Gaelic word Caba, meaning 'hat' or 'cap.' Thus, it belongs to the nickname category of surnames.

Early Origins of the MacCabee family

The surname MacCabee was first found in on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Shortly after their arrival in Ireland in 1350, they became a recognized Breffny sept with their chief being "Constable of the two Breffnys". This would be their homeland for centuries. They were known as mercenaries to the O'Reillys and the O'Rourkes, but then became their own Sept in Breffny and their Chief was the 'Constable of the two Breffnys.'

During the middle of the 14th century, they were granted lands in Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath. The MaCabes lost their estates after the battle of Aughrim in 1691.

Early History of the MacCabee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacCabee research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1601, 1613, 1810, 1740 and 1689 are included under the topic Early MacCabee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacCabee Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: McAbbe, Caybe, McCaibe, MacAbe, Abee, McAbeee, McAbbee, Abbee, McCaybe, Cabe, Abeee, MacCabee, MacCabe, McCabe, Cabbe, McAbee, Caibe and many more.

Early Notables of the MacCabee family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the MacCabee family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Andrew, Anne, Bernard, Bridget, Charles, Edward, Francis, Hugh, James, John, Mary, Michael, Patrick, Peter, and Thomas MacCabe, who all arrived in Philadelphia, Pa. between 1820 and 1860..


Contemporary Notables of the name MacCabee (post 1700) +

  • Bruce Maccabee (b. 1942), American optical physicist
  • Joseph B. Maccabee, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1888 [1]


The MacCabee 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: Aut vincere aut mori
Motto Translation: Either to conquer or die.


  1. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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