Guiness History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 Guiness is Mag Aonghusa or Mag Aonghuis, which mean "son of Angus." [1]

Early Origins of the Guiness family

The surname Guiness was 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.

Early History of the Guiness family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guiness research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1539, 1543, 1584, 1640, 1703, 1797, 1798, 1868 and 1759 are included under the topic Early Guiness History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Guiness Spelling Variations

In the days before Gaelic or English gained any significant semblance of standardization, the scribes who created documents simply recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research into the Guiness family history revealed numerous spelling variations of the name, including Genis, Guinness, Magennis, Guinnessy, McGuinness and many more.

Early Notables of the Guiness family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Hugo Magennis (d. 1640) who was the Franciscan Bishop of Down and Connor; the second Viscount Iveagh, Brian Magennis who was killed in action in 1703; Richard and Richard the...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Guiness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Canada Guiness migration to Canada +

The 19th century brought a massive reduction in Ireland's population. It seemed that during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the Irish people had two options: starve or immigrate. Those that chose the later frequently headed for the United States, hopeful for land, work, and equality. Those determined for free land joined the migration west; while others stayed behind to live in urban centers and often work in factories. Still others began a transitory life in work camps, building the bridges, canals, railways, and highways so critical to the rapidly development of the growing industrial nation. Early passenger and immigration lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Guiness:

Guiness Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Rosy Ann Guiness, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • Catherine Guiness, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • John Guiness, aged 10, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833

New Zealand Guiness migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Guiness Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. W. F. Guiness, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merchantman' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 6th September 1855 [2]


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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