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

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

While many of Irish names are quite familiar to most, their original Gaelic forms are often forgotten and mysterious. The original Gaelic form of the name McGinnis is Mag Aonghusa or Mag Aonghuis, which mean "son of Angus."


Many different spelling variations of the surname McGinnis exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Genis, Guinness, Magennis, Guinnessy, McGuinness and many more.

First found in County Down (Irish:An Dún) part of the Province of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, formerly known as county St Mirren, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGinnis research. Another 279 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1539, 1543, 1584, 1640, 1703, 1797, 1798, 1868 and 1759 are included under the topic Early McGinnis History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 135 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGinnis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the late 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape such hunger and disease. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name McGinnis:

McGinnis Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Catherine McGinnis, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745

McGinnis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert McGinnis, who landed in Maryland in 1802
  • Thomas McGinnis, who arrived in America in 1804
  • Roger McGinnis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • John McGinnis, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Edward McGinnis, aged 30, landed in New York in 1812


  • Thomas "Tom or Tommy" McGinnis (b. 1947), American professional golfer
  • Dave McGinnis, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals
  • Sid McGinnis (b. 1949), American musician and guitarist
  • William "Bill" McGinnis Ph.D., molecular biologist and professor of biology at the University of California
  • Charles McGinnis (1906-1995), American Olympic bronze medalist
  • George McGinnis (b. 1950), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Howard Justus McGinnis (1882-1971), American academic
  • Ross A. McGinnis (1987-2006), American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Ryan McGinnis (b. 1987), American NHL ice hockey player
  • Scott McGinnis (b. 1958), American actor and director, best known as Mr. Adventure in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock



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  1. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The McGinnis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGinnis 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 3 April 2014 at 10:56.

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