MacGuiness History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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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 MacGuiness is Mag Aonghusa or Mag Aonghuis, which mean "son of Angus." 
Early Origins of the MacGuiness family
The surname MacGuiness 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 MacGuiness family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGuiness 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 MacGuiness History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacGuiness Spelling Variations
Ireland in the Middle Ages was inhabited by very few literate people. Therefore, the proper spelling of names was decided by a very select few. The surviving records for the time demonstrate that these scribes were often not consistent in their efforts for there are many spelling variations of certain common names. Some of the variations for the name MacGuiness include Genis, Guinness, Magennis, Guinnessy, McGuinness and many more.
Early Notables of the MacGuiness 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 MacGuiness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacGuiness family
Many Irish families did not fare so well within the English-ruled Ireland. Besides racial and religious discrimination, many families were renting out small tracts of farmland from absentee landowners at often unreasonable rates. Beginning in the late 18th century, moderately well off Irish families decided to emigrate to British North America or the United States in order to own their own plot of land. A radical change occurred in the 1840s, however, with the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Up to this point, the island's population had been increasing rapidly and a steady demand over the years for grain crops had depleted soil. Two failed crops and one poor one caused widespread disease and starvation. Thousands boarded ships looking for opportunities elsewhere. North America welcomed them as a source of cheap labor required for the many industrial and infrastructure projects underway, and as a means to quickly occupy the western regions. Research into immigration and passenger ship lists indicates that people bearing the name MacGuiness were among the earliest settlers to arrive in North America: John Guinnessy, who settled in New York in 1849; William Guinnes who settled in Barbados in 1663; Pat and Mary Guinnessy who settled in Quebec with their ten children in 1849..
Related Stories +
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)