McCoy Family Members

Welcome to the McCoy family Web Site

While the focus of this web site has been devoted to researching the McCoy Family Line, so much more information has been gathered for related families that the database has grown to over 78,000 names. Here at this web site you will find geneology information, pictures, stories and links to other information. We have made every effort possible to insure security for those family members who are living while providing as much information as available on our family history. Whenever possible we have tried to reference the source of our information giving credit where it is due. We know there will be errors, and we welcome feedback, comments, corrections and any other ideas that will make this a more accurate and informative family web site.

Thank you for visiting with us.

The McCoy Family Name

The McCoy name comes from the Scotish Hinglanders Clan, MacKay.
There is a MacKay Clan Museum in Bettyhill, a town in the Highalnd Country of Scotland.
The museum has been the Church and cemetery for the Clan for over 500 years.

Recorded as McCoy and sometimes McKoy, this interesting surname is of Irish, Scottish and Manx origins. It is a developed form of the Old Gaelic Mac Aodha, meaning the son of Fire, originally the name of a Celtic pagan god. The McCoys came to Ireland as gallowglasses, their home territory being the Isel of Man and the southern isles of Scotland such as Islay. In Ireland the surname is chiefly found in the Counties of Armagh and Monaghan with a sprinkling in County Limerick and even far away in Cork. The name dates back to the late 11th Century (see below), and it is said that there are at least fifteen forms of the name including: McCoy, Mckay, McKoy, McKey, McKee McCay, McKie, and even McGee

There are also references to the McCoy name found in Ireland.
The fact that they were galloglasses [An armed retainer or mercenary in the service of an Irish chieftain.] suggests that the McCoys of Ireland were not part of the well-known Clan Mackay of Scotland, who claim descent from the royal House of Moray through Morgund of Pluscarden.
Some Irish MacKays are of this orgin, but most will be descendants of the MacKays of Kintyre, who were called of Ugadale and are mentioned in a manuscript of 1450.

The Real McCoy

The origin of the expression "The Real McCoy" is in dispute: some authorities state that it is a corruption of the Portuguese word Macao (i.e. heroin from Macao).

Another story relates to Charles "Kid" McCoy (real name Charles Selby) who was a clever and popular fighter at the turn of the century. He is credited with inventing the corkscrew punch, which was thrown while rotating the fist. To gain a psychological advantage over his opponents, McCoy feigned illness before several bouts or he would spread the word to the media that he neglected training. On fight night, much to the surprise of the press and his opponents, McCoy was usually fit and ready to fight. Thus, reporters often asked, "Is this the real McCoy?" Following major success in the ring in the late 1800s he was knocked out in five rounds by James J. Corbett, the former heavyweight king in 1900. Then, in 1903, he challenged for the light heavyweight title but lost to champion Jack Root. After leaving the ring, McCoy tried acting but didn't find the same success. In 1924, McCoy was charged with the murder of his lover, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Three years after he was released from jail, McCoy took an overdose of sleeping pills and died.

A third story relates to Elijah McCoy who was born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada on May 2, 1844 and educated in Scotland as a mechanical engineer. He returned to the United States and settled in Detroit, Michigan. He invented a lubricator for steam engines, which allowed machines to remain in motion to be oiled; his new oiling device revolutionized the industrial machine industry. Elijah McCoy established his own firm and was responsible for a total of 57 patents. The term "real McCoy" refers to the oiling device used for industrial machinery. His other inventions included an ironing board and lawn sprinkler. He died on October 10, 1929 and was buried in Detroit, Michigan.

Finally, a letter written by the author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1883 includes the line "he's the real Mackay" and almost certainly refers to the famous Scottish firm of whisky makers.

"Family Crests" or Coat of Arms

The McCoy coat of arms came into existence centuries ago.

The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eight and ninth centuries.

NOTE: A Coat of Arms is also sometimes referred to as a Code of Arms - Family Seal - Family Shield - Family Crest - Wappen - Escudo or Crest

  • McCoy of Ulster Ireland...read more

    This is the most likly coat of arms for our family.

    MacCoy is a fairly common name in Ireland. It is chiefly to be found in Ulster on both sides of the border (Armagh-Monaghan area) with a sprinkling in Cork and Limerick.

    In general, it is true to say that wherever the McCoys are found, there will be MacKays close by.

    The MacKays and MacCoys are not by origin Irish in the usual sense of the word. They came to Ireland as mercenary soldiers, imported by the Irish clan chiefs, mainly in Ulster, to aid in the defence of their clan territories.

  • McCoy of Waterford Scotland...read more

    The home territory of the MacCoys was the southern isles of Scotland (Islay etc.) - though the original Gaelic settlers in Alba came, no doubt, from Ireland.

    Like the MacDonnells some of the MacCoys went south, hence the presence of the families in Munster.

  • McCoy of Belfast...read more

    The fact that they were mercenary soldiers suggests that the McCoys of Ireland were not part of the well-known Clan Mackay of Scotland, who claim descent from the Royal House of Moray through Morgund of Pluscarden. Doubtless some Irish MacKays are of this origin, but most will be descendants of the MacKays of Kintyre, who were called of Ugadale and are mentioned in a manuscript of 1450.