Keach, Keachie, Keech, Keetch, MacKeachan, Meecham
Introduction to Background (writing in progress)
Let me tell you about myself. I am a daughter of a Keach. Because ours is currently a patriarchal society my surname reflected my biological father’s name when I was born and through most of my childhood. I was named "Calabria" because that is my biological father's surname but my biological father was not a father figure. My first major role model was my mother. My mother was both parents for me -- a phenomenon called the "single" parent.
While I was without a father (by any meaningful day-to-day definition) I was not without a father figure. My mother's parents remained married and we visited them often. Throughout my childhood and most of my adolescence the man who I looked to for what it meant to have / be a father was my mother's father, Rev. Stanley J. Keach. I watched my grandfather's interactions and behaviors with not only his daughter - my mother - but also his wife - my grandmother. I saw a man deeply devoted to his family. As I grew older I realized that my grandfather was sometimes not attentive to his immediate family. I learned what it meant to have a minister in the family. As so with his family, what I witnessed in Rev Stanley J. Keach was a man devoted to the people in his church and in his immediate community.
When I became an adult I got married and my surname changed. My name changed but my DNA did not change. My biological mother got divorced and re-claimed her maiden name, Keach. She had 3 children with 2 men and her children had/have the surnames of their biological father’s surnames. When my divorce was finalized my mother had been dead a few years, but my maternal grandparents were still alive and were still very much in my and my son’s life. My biological father and my husband were not part of my life so I did not want to keep my (married) name, nor revert to my maiden (father’s surname) name. I became more interested in my maternal families extended (living) families and their ancestors. When I decided to change my married name it marked the emergence of a genealogist.
It was during my college years that I legally changed my name to “MacKeachan”, which is to say that (according to society’s patriarchal naming systems) I became a paradox. The Scottish prefix, “Mac” means “son of”, yet I am a daughter, not a son. The prefix, “Nee” means “daughter of”, but that “daughter of” still refers to the daughter’s father. If I had chosen “Nee” it would have been the same as reverting to my maiden name – still connecting me with my biological father not my biological mother. If there is a prefix established for being a grand-daughter I do not know it. The best I could do within the confines of established naming conventions was to re-establish a biological and genealogical connection with my maternal grandfather’s family out of respect for the man that was my father figure.
I remembered the day that a “Strictly Scottish and Irish Imports” magazine appeared in my mailbox. I had not ordered anything to get it and there was no postage on it. Curious, I looked inside and found that this particular issue had a list of Sept and Clan names. My maternal grandfather, Stanley J. Keach, had said that “we are Scottish”, so I looked for, “Keach”. There was no “Keach”but there was a Mac “Keach” an. The answer was staring me in the face. If at one time in history someone had removed some letters and shortened their name to "Keach" then someone else in a different time in history could bring back those letters in an attempt to re-connect with the past.
Granted it was not a proven scientific leap that I made, but it made sense to me and to other Scottish people I talked with. As more Scottish peoples accepted my theory I longed to have written proof. I looked at options and decided I would work both ways. I searched New England and documented my Keach clan and I browsed Scottish sources for records. I hoped to find clues of who it was that first came over. What I found was more confusion. In a New England source document I found one of my Keach men spelled Keech. I uncovered a few other spelling variations. Overseas had similar circumstances and I discovered many spellings of "MacKeachan" and learned that MacKeachan was originally MacEachainn.
------------------------------ MORE BACKGROUND TO COME SOON ------------------------------------- REVISION IN PROCESS ------------------------------------