This interesting surname is a form of the early Gaelic (Scottish and Irish) patronymic "Mac Aodh". The personal name "Aodh" meaning "fire" was originally the name of a pagan god, but this does not seem to have halted the popularity of this surname. In the modern idiom Mac Aodh has at least fifteen spelling forms including McKay, McKee, Kee, McCay, McCoy, McEa, and McAy. The form MacKee is widespread in North East Ulster, and especially in Counties Antrim, Down and Armagh, with the short form as Kee being most numerous in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Early examples of the surname recordings include George McKe of Myretoun was mentioned in the Register of the Privy Seal, for Scotland, in 1538, and Sir Patrick MacKee who was a prominent County Donegal "servitor" at the Plantation of Ulster in 1641...
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