McNee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The spelling and overall form of Irish names tend to vary widely. The original Gaelic form of the name McNee is Mac Neidhe, which is derived from the word niadh, which means champion.

Early Origins of the McNee family

The surname McNee was first found in County Down (Irish:An Dún) part of the Province of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, formerly known as county St Mirren, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the McNee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNee research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1037 is included under the topic Early McNee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNee Spelling Variations

In the days before Gaelic or English gained any significant semblance of standardization, the scribes who created documents simply recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research into the McNee family history revealed numerous spelling variations of the name, including MacNee, MacNea, MacNay, MacKnee, MacNeigh, MacNia, Nee, Knee and many more.

Early Notables of the McNee family (pre 1700)

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

United States McNee migration to the United States +

Ireland, as an English-controlled colony in the 19th century, suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands of its native people. The system of land ownership often did not sufficiently provide for the tenants who farmed the land. This was most clearly evidenced in the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Previous years of great demand for grain products and livestock had run the land down. Many landowners foreseeing an upcoming crisis often removed families from the land or forced them to rely on pitifully small plots where only a subsistence living could be made. When the famines of 1845, 46, and 48 hit, many had nothing. Disease and starvation became widespread and families boarded ships for elsewhere any way they could. Those who went to America were instrumental in developing the industrial power known today: many Irish were employed in hard labor positions in factories and in building the bridges, canals, roads, and railways necessary for a strong industrial nation. Research of early immigration and passenger lists has shown that many bearers of the name McNee:

McNee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Martin, Lawrence, John and James McNee, who settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

Canada McNee migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McNee Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McNee, who landed in Canada in 1816

Contemporary Notables of the name McNee (post 1700) +

  • Andrew McNee, Canadian actor, best known for starring as Coach Malone in the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Andrew McNee (b. 1979), Australian Olympic Speed Skater, brother of Mark McNee
  • Sir David Blackstock McNee QPN (b. 1925), Scottish Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 1977 to 1982
  • Mark McNee (b. 1981), Australian Olympic Speed Skater, brother of Andrew McNee
  • John McNee, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations on Facebook
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