The Clan/Sept History
The Irish surname MacEvoy originally appeared in Gaelic as "Mac Fhiodhbhuidhe,"
which is probably derived from the word "fiodhbhadhach," referring to "a
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their
name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those
scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one
person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the
illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the
surname MacEvoy that are preserved in archival documents are McEvoy, Evoy,
McGilloway, McVeagh, McVeigh, McAvoy, McElwee, McElwy and many more.
First found in Wexford, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for
North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the
eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of
owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato
Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on
ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these
passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease,
starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did
safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor
of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical
to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada.
Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the MacEvoy family came
to North America quite early: James McKelvey, who arrived in Charles Town
<Actinic:Variable Name = 'Charleston'/>, South Carolina in 1767; David McKelvey, who was naturalized in
South Carolina in 1805; Hugh McKelvey, who was naturalized in Allegheny Co., PA
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