Magennis 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 Magennis is Mag Aonghusa or Mag Aonghuis, which mean "son of Angus."

Early Origins of the Magennis family

The surname Magennis 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 Magennis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Magennis 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 Magennis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Magennis Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, was what guided scribes and church officials in recording names, a practice that often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Magennis are preserved in documents that were examined for evidence of the family's history. The various spellings of Magennis included Genis, Guinness, Magennis, Guinnessy, McGuinness and many more.

Early Notables of the Magennis 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 Magennis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Magennis migration to the United States +

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 Magennis:

Magennis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ella Magennis, aged 2, who immigrated to America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1907
  • Mary Magennis, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Garrison, Ireland, in 1909
  • L. C. Magennis, aged 38, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1911
  • Madge Magennis, aged 27, who settled in America from Carnew, Ireland, in 1913
  • Gertrude Magennis, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Carnew, Ireland, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Magennis 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:

Magennis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary A. Magennis, (b. 1848), aged 21, Irish general servant, from Armagh travelling from London aboard the ship "Siberia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st February 1870 [1]
  • Miss Eliza Jane Magennis, (b. 1851), aged 18, Irish general servant, from Armagh travelling from London aboard the ship "Siberia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st February 1870 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Magennis (post 1700) +

  • Joshua Brendan David "Josh" Magennis (b. 1990), Northern Irish footballer
  • William Magennis (1867-1946), Irish politician and university professor
  • Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis (1919-1986), Irish sailor awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII [2]
  • Eric Magennis (b. 1937), Australian three-time gold medalist Paralympic lawn bowls player and archer
  • Shaun Magennis (b. 1989), English professional rugby league player


  1. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  2. ^ World War 2 Awards.com - MAGENNIS, James. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) James Magennis. Retrieved from http://www.ww2awards.com/person/105


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