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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Gaynor family come from? What is the Irish Gaynor family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gaynor family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gaynor family history?

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Gaynor is "Mag Fhionnbhairr," which is derived from the word "fionnbharr," which means "fair head."

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The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Gaynor revealed spelling variations, including Gaynor, Gainor, Gainer, Gaines, Gains, McGaynor and others.

First found in county Longford (Irish: An Longfort) traditionally known as Annaly or Teffia, and situated in the Irish Midlands, in Northwest Leinster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaynor research. Another 198 words(14 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Gaynor History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gaynor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Gaynor name:

Gaynor Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Gaynor, who landed in New York in 1801
  • Michael Gaynor, who landed in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1840
  • Capt. Gaynor, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Austin, Edward, James, John, Luke, Patrick, and Peter Gaynor, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • James S Gaynor, who arrived in Mississippi in 1868

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  • Adam Gaynor (b. 1963), American rhythm guitarist, best-known as the former rhythm guitarist for the band Matchbox Twenty
  • Mitzi Gaynor (b. 1931), born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, an American Laurel and Emmy Award winning actress, singer, and dancer perhaps best known for her role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific
  • William Jay Gaynor (1849-1913), American mayor of the City of New York from 1910 to 1913, as well as a New York Supreme Court Justice from 1893 to 1909
  • Janet Gaynor (1906-1984), American silent film actress who became the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in three films, the only occasion on which an actress has won for multiple roles
  • Gloria Gaynor (b. 1949), born Gloria Fowles, American singer, best known for the disco era hits "I Will Survive" and "Never Can Say Goodbye"
  • John Bernard "J.B." Gaynor (b. 1990), American former teen actor, best known for his role as Young Eddie in Grounded for Life
  • Ross Gaynor (b. 1987), Irish professional footballer
  • Len Gaynor (b. 1944), retired Irish hurling manager and former player
  • Tommy Gaynor (b. 1963), Irish footballer
  • Mel George Gaynor (b. 1960), British musician, best known as the drummer for the rock band, Simple Minds


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  1. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  7. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  10. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  11. ...

The Gaynor Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gaynor Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 July 2014 at 14:31.

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