Show ContentsMcQuay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Picts of ancient Scotland were the tribe of the ancestors of the McQuay family. The name McQuay is derived from the personal name Aodh, a cognate of Hugh. The Gaelic form of the name is usually Mac Aoidh and in Inverness, the Gaelic form of the name McQuay is Mac Ai.

"Nothing certain is known of the origin of the northern Mackays beyond the fact that they were early connected with Moray, and may have been a part of the ancient Clann Morgunn. The Inverness-shire Mackays are usually called in Gaelic Mac Ai, that is, MacDhai, or Davidson; they formed a branch of Clan Chattan." [1]

Early Origins of the McQuay family

The surname McQuay was first found in Sutherland (Gaelic: Cataibh), a former county in northern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Highland, where early records show that Gilcrest M'Ay, forefather of the MacKay family of Ugadale, made a payment to the constable of Tarbert in 1326. It is claimed that the Clan is descended from the royal house of MacEth.

Early History of the McQuay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McQuay research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1408, 1411, 1429, 1329, 1506, 1575, 1873, 1940, 1640, 1692, 1689, 1726, 1692 and are included under the topic Early McQuay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McQuay Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. McQuay has been spelled MacKay, MacCay, MacQuey, MacQuoid, MacKaw, MacKy, MacKye, MacCoy, McCoy and many more.

Early Notables of the McQuay family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Hugh Mackay (c. 1640-1692), Scottish general, Major-General Commanding in Chief in Scotland in 1689, killed at the Battle of Steinkeerke; and...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McQuay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McQuay Ranking

In the United States, the name McQuay is the 15,121st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the McQuay family to Ireland

Some of the McQuay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 133 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McQuay migration to the United States +

In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name McQuay:

McQuay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William McQuay, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1852 [3]
  • James McQuay, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1880 [3]
  • Robert McQuay, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1880 [3]
McQuay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mary McQuay, aged 54, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Lyle McQuay, aged 19, who settled in America, in 1919

Australia McQuay migration to Australia +

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

McQuay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Fanny McQuay, aged 25, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

Contemporary Notables of the name McQuay (post 1700) +

  • Tony McQuay (b. 1990), American track and field six-time gold medalist who specializes in the 400 meters
  • Leon McQuay III (b. 1994), former American football safety who played college football at USC, grandson of Leon McQuay
  • Herb McQuay (d. 2005), American popular jazz and soul singer from New York who lived and worked in New Zealand during the late 1970s to the mid 1980s
  • Stan McQuay (b. 1973), Japanese-born, American bodybuilder
  • Mike McQuay (1949-1995), American science fiction writer, nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award (1987)
  • Leon McQuay (1950-1995), American CFL and NFL football running back
  • Kevin "Big Kev" McQuay (1949-2005), Australian businessman, founder of Big Kev's Ltd

The McQuay 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: Manu forti
Motto Translation: With a strong hand.

  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