There are various surnames, better known as Septs, that have connections by heritage to the Clan Mackay. The Clan is basically a family and the name is derived from a Gaelic word meaning children. The Clan system emerged from the old tribes.
A family name becomes a Sept of a clan for various reasons: It may be through marriage or by the family seeking protection from a larger and more powerful neighbouring clan. Many names which are recorded as septs may be clans in their own right and many can be related to more than one clan.

The following list is not definitive but records most of the Septs of Clan Mackay:

Allan, Allanson, Bain, Bayne, Kay, Key, MacAllan, MacBain, MacCaa, MacCaw, MacCay, MacCrie, MacGaa, MacGaw, MacGee, MacGhee, MacGhie, MacKay, MacKee, Mackey, Mackie, MacPhail, MacQue, MacQuey, MacQuoid, MacVail, MacVain, MacVane, Morgan, Neilson, Nelson, Paul, Pole, Poleson, Pollard, Polson, Reay, Scobie, Williamson.

(note: "Mc" is an abbreviation of "Mac" meaning "Son of")

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