Show ContentsMcKissack History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The root of the ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name McKissack is the personal name Isaac. The Gaelic forms of the name are Mac Isaac or Mac Iosaig, both of which mean son of Isaac. [1]

Early Origins of the McKissack family

The surname McKissack was first found in Inverness, where one of the first records of the family was in 1476 when "the lands of Ardere in the barony of Clastray were resigned by Mariot, daughter of Molmoria M'Kesek." [1]

Spelling variations for the family are quite varied: Mackessack, Mackissack, Mackissock, Mackissek, Makesaig (1592), Makkessake (1591), McKisack (1684) and many more.

In 1496, Donald Makessaig was recorded at Kilmun and he is probably the Donald McEsayg recorded in 1511. "John M'Intheir was convicted in 1623 for letting M'Keissik's 'bairnis the for hunger' in Breadalbane (BRT., p. 379 -there was probably a famine). Marion MacKissock was resident in the parish of Boyne, 1684, Elspet M'Kissick in Relliclone, parish of Madertie, 1658 (Dunkeld)." [1]

Early History of the McKissack family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKissack research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1685 and 1871 are included under the topic Early McKissack History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McKissack 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 McKissack has appeared as MacIsaac, MacIsaack, Kissock and others.

Early Notables of the McKissack family (pre 1700)

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

McKissack Ranking

In the United States, the name McKissack is the 15,408th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

United States McKissack migration to the United States +

Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The McKissack were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

McKissack Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Janet McKissack, aged 56, who landed in New York in 1774 [3]
  • Thomas McKissack, aged 26, who arrived in New York, NY in 1775 [3]

New Zealand McKissack 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:

McKissack Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Amy McKissack, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Triumph" in 1883
  • William McKissack, aged 19, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Rimutaka" in 1886

Contemporary Notables of the name McKissack (post 1700) +

  • Patricia L'Ann Carwell "Pat" McKissack (1944-2017), American children's author of books, former board member of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
  • Perri Alette McKissack (b. 1966), aka Perri Nixon, American dance-pop and urban contemporary singer-songwriter
  • Jefferson Davis McKissack (1903-1980), Texas folk artist & creator of The Orange Show
  • Eliza Jane McKissack (1828-1900), née Aykroyd, American founding head of music at the University of North Texas College of Music

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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) on Facebook