The Origin of the Name McKechnie
Many Highland Scottish names have changed over the years, some so distorted as to be unrecognisable. Much of this was due in the past 200 years or so to the systems of registering births, deaths and marriages. The person registering is likely to have been a Gaelic speaker, while the registrar may have spoken only English, and would have written the name phonetically as he heard it. Another factor was the official discouragement of the use of the Gaelic language, leading to the deliberate anglicising of names. As a result of these various influences, Highland Scottish names now have many alternative spellings.
For the name McKechnie, common Gaelic variants were McEachran, McEachern or
MacEachern, and in some families these spellings have survived to the present
day. Common anglicised versions were McKechnie or McKeachie.
A more detailed study of the subject can be found on the web site of the North Carolina Scottish Heritage Society.