Show ContentsMcGaffey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname is one of the native Irish surnames that come from the Irish Gaelic language. The original Gaelic form of the name McGaffey is "Mac Eachaidh," from the personal name Eachaidh, which is Anglicized as Aghy. It is cognate with Eochaigh, which is Anglicized as the once-common Christian name Oghy.

Early Origins of the McGaffey family

The surname McGaffey was first found in the county of Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the McGaffey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGaffey research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGaffey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGaffey Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name McGaffey were encountered in the archives: Caughey, McCaughey, McGaughey, Coffee, Coffey, Coffy, O'Coffey, O'Coffy, Mulcahy, McGahey and many more.

Early Notables of the McGaffey family

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

Migration of the McGaffey family

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name McGaffey: John Caughey who settled in New York in 1845; James Coffe who settled in Boston in 1754; Bridget Coffee settled in Boston in 1849; John Coffee settled in Virginia in 1637.

Contemporary Notables of the name McGaffey (post 1700) +

  • Paul McGaffey, American actor who has played the devil eleven times, known for his work in Mania: The Intruder (1986), Prom Night II (1987) and Last Train Home (1989)
  • Ives W. McGaffey, American inventor of the hand drive vacuum cleaner from 1865-1868 which he patented in 1869
  • Alysanne McGaffey (b. 1931), American artist, part of the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the late 1950s and early 60s
  • Elizabeth McGaffey (1885-1944), American actress, known for her roles in Citizen Kane (1941) Roberta (1935) Top Hat (1935)
  • Kenneth McGaffey (1881-1938), American assistant director
  • Neal McGaffey, American politician, Member of New Hampshire State Senate 6th District, 1837-39 [1]
  • L. K. McGaffey, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Mexico Territory, 1904 [1]
  • Albert B. McGaffey, American politician, Secretary of State of Colorado, 1895-97 [1]

The McGaffey 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: Non providentia sed victoria
Motto Translation: No victory without foresight

  1. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from on Facebook