Show ContentsMcAfee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first family to use the name McAfee lived in the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It was used as 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.

Early Origins of the McAfee family

The surname McAfee was 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.

Early History of the McAfee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAfee research. Another 226 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1838 is included under the topic Early McAfee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McAfee Spelling Variations

Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. McAfee has been written as MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the McAfee family (pre 1700)

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

McAfee Ranking

In the United States, the name McAfee is the 3,107th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McAfee family to Ireland

Some of the McAfee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McAfee migration to the United States +

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:

McAfee Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne McAfee, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]
McAfee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Agniss McAfee, aged 20, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804 [2]
  • Joseph McAfee, who landed in America in 1811 [2]
  • Robert McAfee, who arrived in America in 1812 [2]
  • Bernard McAfee, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1837 [2]
  • Owen McAfee, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McAfee migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McAfee Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McAfee, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833

Contemporary Notables of the name McAfee (post 1700) +

  • John McAfee (1945-2021), English-born, American computer programmer and founder of McAfee Anti-virus software
  • Bill H. McAfee (1931-2015), American radio broadcaster and politician, Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives (1976-2000)
  • Leroy Magnum McAfee (1837-1873), American officer in the Confederate Army, Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
  • Eric Armstrong McAfee (b. 1962), American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist, Chairman of McAfee Capital
  • Brigadier-General Larry Benjamin McAfee (1883-1950), American Assistant Surgeon-General US Army (1941-1945) [3]
  • Preston McAfee (b. 1956), American economist at Google, former J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business, Economics, and Management at the California Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Walter McAfee (1914-1995), American scientist
  • Robert Breckinridge McAfee (1784-1849), American politician, seventh Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (1824 to 1828)
  • Mildred Helen McAfee (1900-1994), American academic, first director of the WAVES in the United States Navy
  • Anndi McAfee (b. 1979), American actor and voice actor
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Mcafee, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [4]

The McAfee 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: Pro Rege
Motto Translation: For the King.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2013, February 12) Larry McAfee. Retrieved from
  4. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook