- This is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic (Scots and Irish) name MacAodh. The Gaelic prefix "mac" indicating "son of" plus the personal name "Aodh" meaning "Fire", originally the name of a pagan god. Today the name has at least fifteen anglicized forms, including McKay, McKee, MaCay, McCoy, McGhie, McCue, McEa, McAy etc.. The last mentioned form is first recorded in Scotland in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). An earlier anglicization MacHugh is recorded in "the Irish Annals of Clonmacnois" circa 1313 when one Malachy MacHugh became Archbishop of Tuam. The name appears as Mak Hu (Co. Cork, 1647) and McKew (Co. Derry, 1694). On February 4th 1821, Bridget McCue and Michael Kavanagh were married at Templemichael, Co. Waterford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilchrist M'Ay, made payments to the Constable of Tarbert, which was dated 1326 "The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland", during the reign of King David II of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.