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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the Scottish MacPhee family come from? What is the Scottish MacPhee family crest and coat of arms? When did the MacPhee family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the MacPhee family history?

The ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name MacPhee is a nickname for a dark-featured, peaceful person. The Gaelic name of the Clan is Mac Dubhshithe, which translates as black one of peace. One branch of the Clan on the island of North Uist was known as Dubh-sidh, meaning 'black fairy,' due to their whimsical association with the faerie folk.


Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. MacPhee has appeared in various documents spelled MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

First found in on the Isle of Colonsay, where the eponymous ancestor of the Clan may be Dubhshith, also called Dubside, who was lector at the Cathedral on the sacred isle of Iona in 1164. As the name MacFee is one of the oldest of all Dalriadan surnames it appears in records as early as the reign of Alexander II, when Johannes Macdufthi was witness to a charter in Dumfriesshire. In 1296, Thomas Macdoffy swore an oath of allegiance to the king.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacPhee research. Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the year 1838 is included under the topic Early MacPhee History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early MacPhee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the MacPhee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 187 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

MacPhee Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Daniel MacPhee settled in Maryland in 1775

MacPhee Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Alex Macphee, aged 20, who emigrated to America from Glasgow, in 1905
  • Mrs. Eliz. Macphee, aged 60, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1905
  • Wm. Macphee, aged 15, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1905
  • Susan Macphee, aged 25, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Anderson MacPhee, aged 27, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1908

MacPhee Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Francis J. MacPhee, aged 32, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1914


  • Walter Scott "Waddy" MacPhee (1899-1980), American Major League Baseball third baseman who played for the New York Giants in 1922
  • Catherine-Ann MacPhee (b. 1959), Scottish Gaelic singer
  • Robyn MacPhee (b. 1983), Canadian gold and two-time bronze medalist curler from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Ian Malcolm Macphee (1938-1990), Australian politician, member of the Australian House of Representatives


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: Pro Rege
Motto Translation: For the King.


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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  5. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The MacPhee Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacPhee Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 August 2015 at 19:19.

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