Show ContentsGains History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Gains is "Mag Fhionnbhairr," which is derived from the word "fionnbharr," which means "fair head." [1]

The Mc Geaney and O'Geaney variants were originally Geibheannaigh in Gaelic which roughly translates to "fettered" in English. These branches were typically found in Co. Cork and Co. Roscommon. [1]

Early Origins of the Gains family

The surname Gains was first found in county Longford (Irish: An Longfort) traditionally known as Annaly or Teffia, and situated in the Irish Midlands, in Northwest Leinster. [2]

They claim descent through the Line of Ir, Irish kings and one source notes the Gaynor variant as originally Geraadhan in Gaelic. However, the same source claims the name could have been MacFinbhair, which matches the aforementioned entry. [3]

Early History of the Gains family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gains research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Gains History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gains Spelling Variations

Names written in official documents were generally spelt as they sounded, leading to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion in records of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Gains that are preserved in documents of the family history are Gaynor, Gainor, Gainer, Gaines, Gains, McGaynor and others.

Early Notables of the Gains family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Gains Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gains Ranking

In the United States, the name Gains is the 14,626th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

United States Gains migration to the United States +

Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Gains:

Gains Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Gains, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1638 [5]
  • Thomas Gains, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1640 [5]
  • Daniel Gains, who landed in Lancaster, Maas in 1660 [5]
Gains Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ann Gains, who settled in Pensacola, FL in 1769
Gains Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Gains, aged 30, who landed in Massachusetts in 1812 [5]
  • Alexander Gains, who arrived in Virginia in 1852

Canada Gains migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gains Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Alice Gains, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Samuel Gains, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Josiah Gains U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [6]

Australia Gains migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gains Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Gains, English labourer who was convicted in Kent, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Fanny" on 25th August 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. William Gains, English convict who was convicted in Leeds, Yorkshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 14th October 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mary Gains, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Velocity"

Contemporary Notables of the name Gains (post 1700) +

  • Courtney Gains (b. 1965), American actor, best known for his role as Malachai in the 1984 horror movie Children of the Corn
  • Lawrence Samuel "Larry" Gains (1900-1983), Canadian black heavyweight boxer, Champion of the Dominion of Canada and the British Empire; he never had a chance to be World Champion due to his skin colour

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William S Gains, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [9]

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  3. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th September 2022).
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st September 2022).
  9. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook