McFee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The western seacoast of Scotland and the rugged Hebrides islands made up the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada, the ancestral home of the McFee family. McFee is a name 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 McFee family

The surname McFee 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 McFee family

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

McFee Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name McFee include many spelling variations. They include They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the McFee family (pre 1700)

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

McFee Ranking

In the United States, the name McFee is the 15,411st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McFee family to Ireland

Some of the McFee 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 McFee migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first McFees to arrive in North America:

McFee Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Archibald McFee, aged 29, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774 [2]
  • Mary McFee, who arrived in New York in 1775 [2]
McFee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh McFee, aged 28, who landed in Delaware in 1812 [2]

Australia McFee migration to Australia +

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

McFee Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel Mcfee, (b. 1805), aged 33, Scottish soldier from Edinburgh who was convicted in Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa for 14 years for desertion from the army, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th May 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • William McFee, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848 [4]
  • Donald McFee, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"
  • Catherine McFee, aged 29, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Schah Jehan"

Contemporary Notables of the name McFee (post 1700) +

  • Shane McFee (b. 1978), American guitarist of the American heavy metal band Backmask
  • John McFee (b. 1950), American singer, songwriter, longtime member of the Doobie Brothers
  • Henry Lee McFee (1886-1953), American cubist painter
  • Shirley M. McFee (b. 1929), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1972; Member of University of Michigan Board of Regents, 1991- [5]
  • Robert D. McFee, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 9th District, 1960; Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1969 [5]
  • Bruce James McFee (1961-2021), Scottish National Party (SNP) politician who was elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the West of Scotland region from 2003 to 2007
  • Oonah McFee (1916-2006), née Browne, Canadian novelist, winner of the Books in Canada First Novel Award (1977)
  • Allan McFee (1913-2000), Canadian announcer for the CBC
  • William McFee (1881-1966), English writer of sea stories

The McFee 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. ^
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th February 2021). Retrieved from
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1848. Retrieved from
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from on Facebook