Michie Surname – Origin and Meaning

The Michie surname on a gravestone in Kinross cemetery.

The Michie surname is deeply rooted in Aberdeenshire and its surrounding area where you will find many families with that Scottish name.  As part of my series on Scottish surnames, I have looked into the origins and meaning of this ancient name that travelled from the Holy Land to Scotland.

Firstly, how do you pronounce Michie?

In some countries, Michie is pronounced with a ‘k’ such as ‘Mickey’.  In Scotland, the “ch” is pronounced similarly to the sound in “loch.”

Origin and meaning of Michie surname

The Michie name originally comes from the Hebrew name Mikha’el to mean he who is like God indicating descent from someone named Michael.  The name was brought back from the Holy Land by Knights Templar in the 12th century.  Throughout medieval times, the name appeared in many variations, gaining popularity across Christian Europe.

History of the Michie surname

In Scotland, this surname can trace its roots to a Michael MacDonald who left the MacDonald clan of Keppoch for Aberdeenshire.  Many believe that he is the common ancestor for all Michies.

The earliest documented version of this surname dates back to 1473 when a farm tenant called “John Mychy” was recorded in the Rent Book of Coupar Angus.  It was also found as a first name from someone called “Michy Nycholson” in Coupar Angus in 1443.  The earliest Old Parish Register on ScotlandsPeople is the marriage between David Miche and Katerine Sanderis in 1564.

Is there a Michie Clan?

The Michie family do not have a clan.  However, they belong to a sept.

Some sources claim that the Michie family is a sept of the MacDonald of Keppoch clan while others claims it is a sept of the Forbes Clan.

On further investigation, the High Council of Clan Donald confirms that only the Michie families from Lochaber who descend from the MacMichies are sept members of the Clan M’Donald.  Therefore outside Lochaber, the Michie family belong to the Forbes clan.  Their association is a result of many marriages between the Forbes and the Michie families.

Variations of the Michie surname

Over the centuries, surnames have evolved, resulting in a multitude of spellings from the original form.  Some common variations include Miche, Michy, Mychie, Mitchie, and Mitchy.  These variations might have emerged due to differences in regional accents, dialects, or phonetic spellings over time.

Gravestone of Michy family in Gamrie cemetery-variation of the Michie surname.
This stone was placed hear in the year 1766 By William Michy then farmer in Cushnie and under in doth lie the bodies of the following persons Viz.

Some famous people with the name Michie

  • James Beattie Michie (1891 – 1959): Born in Inverness, James was an architect and academic lecturer. He worked for the Imperial War Graves Commission after WW1.  During WW2, Michie enlisted and was stationed in Galashiels facilitating accommodation for troops training in the Scottish Borders.  After WW2, he became a Lecturer at the School of Architecture in Bath.
  • John Michie (born 1956) is a Scottish television and film actor, known for his roles in Taggart, Coronation Street and Casualty to name a few.
  • David Michie: David is an author and entrepreneur known for his works on Buddhism, such as “Buddhism for Busy People”, which explores practical applications of Buddhist teachings in modern life.

In conclusion….

In contemporary times, the Michie surname remains prevalent in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire due to its ancestral ties.  However, Scottish emigration has led to the spread of the surname to other English-speaking regions worldwide.

Consequently, individuals bearing the Michie surname can be found across the United States, England, Canada, and Australia, among other countries.  Are you one of them?

Thank you for joining me on this historical journey about the Michie surname.  I hope you enjoyed reading my article as much as I like bringing these stories to light.

Let me know in the comments below if you want me to write about a particular Scottish surname.

Good luck with your research.

Until my next post, haste ye back.


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