MacKay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicle of the name MacKay begins with a family in the Pictish clans of ancient Scotland. The name 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 MacKay 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 MacKay family

The surname MacKay 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 MacKay family

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

MacKay Spelling Variations

When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. MacKay has been written MacKay, MacCay, MacQuey, MacQuoid, MacKaw, MacKy, MacKye, MacCoy, McCoy and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the MacKay family to Ireland

Some of the MacKay 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 MacKay migration to the United States +

The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of MacKay:

MacKay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hugh MacKay, who arrived in New England in 1651-1652 [2]
  • James Mackay, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [2]
  • John Mackay, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [2]
  • Robert Mackay, who arrived in Maryland in 1658 [2]
  • Dunken Mackay, who landed in Virginia in 1695 [2]
MacKay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick Mackay, who arrived in Georgia in 1732 [2]
  • John Mackay, who arrived in Georgia in 1735 [2]
  • William Mackay, who landed in Virginia in 1735-1736 [2]
  • Donald Mackay, who landed in Georgia in 1735 [2]
  • Hugh Mackay, who arrived in Georgia in 1735 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
MacKay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Mackay, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827 [2]
  • Thomas Mackay, aged 30, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [2]
  • Michael Mackay, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1804 [2]
  • James MacKay, who landed in America in 1805 [2]
  • Charles MacKay, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada MacKay migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacKay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • George Mackay, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. Francis Mackay U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [3]
  • Mr. Thomas Mackay U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [3]
  • Mr. William MacKay U.E. born in Scotland from USA who settled in Eastern District, Charlottesburgh [South Glengarry], Ontario c. 1784 [3]
MacKay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Angus Mackay, aged 24, who landed in Churchill Factory, Canada in 1813
  • Betsy Mackay, who arrived in Churchill Factory, Canada in 1813
  • Elizabeth Mackay, who arrived in Churchill Factory, Canada in 1813
  • Angus MacKay, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • Robert MacKay, who landed in Canada in 1817

Australia MacKay migration to Australia +

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

MacKay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Mackay, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • James Mackay, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Hugh Mackay, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • William Mackay, Scottish convict from Perth, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. James Mackay, British Convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand MacKay migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

MacKay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A MacKay, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Hugh MacKay, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James MacKay, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas MacKay, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas MacKay, aged 28, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name MacKay (post 1700) +

  • Steve Mackay (1949-2015), American tenor saxophone player, best known for work with the Stooges
  • Barry MacKay (1935-2012), American tennis player, tournament director and tennis broadcaster
  • John A. Mackay, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • James Lyle Mackay GCMG, GCSI, KCIE (1852-1932), British colonial administrator in India
  • Fulton Mackay (1922-1987), Scottish actor and playwright
  • Alexander Murdoch Mackay (1849-1890), Scottish missionary
  • Sir David John Cameron MacKay FRS, FInstP, FICE (1967-2016), English Regius Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009
  • David Craig Mackay (1934-2015), Scottish football player and manager, inaugural inductee to both the English and Scottish Football Halls of Fame
  • John Ross Mackay OC, FRSC (1915-2014), Canadian geographer
  • Lieutenant General Sir Iven Giffard Mackay KBE CMG DSO and Bar (1882-1966), senior Australian soldier
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Alexander Lane Mackay (d. 1945), British MARINE aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John Mackay (b. 1920), Scottish Seaman serving for the Royal Navy Reserve from Tolas-Dadh-a-Chaolais, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Hamish Mackay, American 2nd Class passenger from New York, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [11]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Charles Donald Mackay, aged 34, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 11 [12]
  • Mr. George William Mackay (d. 1912), aged 20, English Third Class passenger from London who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [12]


The MacKay 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.


Suggested Readings for the name MacKay +

  • 3228 Family Tree Record by Anthony Steward MacKay Dickins.

  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. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Adamant voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1821 with 144 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adamant/1821
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  9. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  12. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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