An Irish and Scottish surname, McKay comes from the Gaelic terms ‘mac’ and ‘aodh’ which refers to the son of fire. The spelling variations for McKay include Mackey, MacHugh, MacKaw, MacQuoid, McCoy, MacCay, Makey, MacKay and Makee. In England the McKay surname is over most of the country. The greater populations of McKay families lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and the city of London. In Scotland the beginnings of the McKay surname was in Sutherland, at the far northern region of the country. Many of the McKay families did move further south into Inverness-shire, Ross & Cromarty, Caithness, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire over the years. From Scotland, many McKay families resettled in Ireland and then to Canada, the United States and Australia. Within the United States the McKay families originated in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi. Famous: Charles McKay (19th century English poet and journalist), William McKay (early 19th century fur trader in the northern regions of Canada), Donald McKay (19th century designer of large ships), Nellie McKay (actress, comic and singer), Mungo McKay (actor from Australia), Jim McKay (sports journalist on television), Ian McKay (footballer from Australia), Hilary McKay (writer of children books in England), Ernie McKay (musician and orchestra leader), Colin McKay (professional skateboarder from Canada) and Bill McKay champion footballer from Scotland).