McAffee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name McAffee lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name McAffee was used to indicate a person who 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 McAffee family

The surname McAffee 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 McAffee family

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

McAffee Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years McAffee has appeared as MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the McAffee family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McAffee family to Ireland

Some of the McAffee 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 McAffee migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name McAffee or a variant listed above include:

McAffee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gilbert McAffee, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1804 [1]
  • Patrick McAffee, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1829 [1]
  • James McAffee, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1832 [1]
  • Archibald McAffee, who arrived in New York in 1839 [1]
  • James McAffee, aged 17, who landed in America, in 1895
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McAffee Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • McAffee, aged 39, who settled in America from Paris, in 1905
  • E. M. McAffee, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905

New Zealand McAffee 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:

McAffee Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Mcaffee, (b. 1837), aged 24, Irish ploughman, from Antrim travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Rhea Sylvia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd May 1861 [2]
  • Mrs. Catherine Mcaffee, (b. 1842), aged 19, Irish settler, from Antrim travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Rhea Sylvia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd May 1861 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McAffee (post 1700) +

  • Thomas B. McAffee, American William S. Boyd Professor of Law
  • James McAffee, American hunter, tradesman, and surveyor who explored Kentucky in the last decades of the 18th century
  • Edward McAffee, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1928 [3]
  • Charles B. McAffee, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Missouri 6th District, 1872 [3]

The McAffee 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. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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