Recorded as M'Cowis, McCuish, McCoish, McCooish, McCuis, and a sept or branch of the Clan McMannain, this is a surname from the Isles of Uist, Skye, and Harris where it is usually spelt as McCuthais. The origin of the name is uncertain but there is a legend that suggests that whilst the origin is Gaelic it may not be Scottish, but Manx from the Isle of Man. Here the surname as Kewish, itself said to be a transposition from MacUais, has been recorded since the registers began in the 15th century. The legend is that (quote) 'Some hundreds of years ago some members of the clan McFee or McPhee found their way to North Uist, and part of them spelt their name as Macowis'. However the McFee's were already in Iona and Colonsay so on that basis they did not have so far to come. However it may suggest that some members of the McFees originated in the Isle of Man, but this is certainly not proven. The surname possibly translates as the 'son of the black goblin' from the Gaelic Mac Dubhsith.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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