Show ContentsMcConaghy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McConaghy family. The root of their name is the personal name Robert. Known as the Clan Donnachaidh, (MacDhonnchaidh) 'son of Duncan' the family's origins are very distinguished, as the senior branch of the line were the hereditary abbots of Dunkeld, who traced their descent from Iona. In addition, Abbot Duncan of Dunkeld, the Robertson progenitor, was killed in battle in 964, as he led the warriors, bearing, a reliquary of St. Columba. His grandson, Abbot Crinan of Dunkeld, married the Kings daughter and then fathered King Duncan I of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth (of Shakespearean fame). Crinan is buried at the Isle of lona, burial place of Scotland's early Kings. [1]

Early Origins of the McConaghy family

The surname McConaghy was first found in Atholl. King Duncan's younger son, Maelmore, sired Madadh, Earl of Atholl, and his grandson, Earl Henry, was father to Conan who held vast territories in this area. Conan of Glenerochie was the first Chief of the Robertsons and gave his name to the Clan Connchaidh or Duncan. His successor, Duncan, the 5th Chief, led the Clan in the army of King Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314 against the English. For this service, and his subsequent staunch support of the Scottish Crown, his grandson Robert of Struan was granted the lands and barony in 1451.

Early History of the McConaghy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McConaghy research. Another 403 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1745, 1587, 1703, 1715, 1723, 1727, 1745, 1749, 1784, 1746, 1520, 1561, 1686, 1645, 1653, 1680, 1680, 1668, 1689, 1705, 1783 and 1705 are included under the topic Early McConaghy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McConaghy Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. McConaghy has been spelled Robertson, MacConachie, Maconachie, MacConaghy, MacConchie, MacConckey, MacConkey, MacDonnachie, MacDonachie, MacDunnachie, MacInroy, MacLagan, Mac Raibeirt (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the McConaghy family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Thomas Robertson (fl. 1520-1561), schoolmaster and dean of Durham, was born at or near Wakefield in Yorkshire early in the sixteenth century. William Robertson (d. 1686?), Scottish lexicographer, was a graduate of Edinburgh, and is probably the William Robertson who was laureated by Duncan Forester in April 1645. From 1653 to 1680...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McConaghy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McConaghy family to Ireland

Some of the McConaghy family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McConaghy migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first McConaghys to arrive in North America:

McConaghy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David McConaghy, aged 10, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [2]
  • Thomas McConaghy, aged 27, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [2]
  • William B McConaghy, aged 4, who landed in America in 1820 [2]
  • Hector McConaghy, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1828 [2]
  • William McConaghy, aged 16, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McConaghy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McConaghy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Barnabas McConaghy, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Mr. Francis McConaghy, aged 1 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Christiana" departing 8th April 1847 from Londonderry, Ireland; the ship arrived on 10th June 1847 but he died on board [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name McConaghy (post 1700) +

  • Jack McConaghy (1902-1977), American two-time Academy Award nominated set decorator, best known for his work on The Desert Song (1943) and San Antonio (1945)
  • Lorraine McConaghy, American historian, recipient of the Washington State Historical Society's Robert Gray Medal (2010)
  • Brian McConaghy (b. 1963), Irish-born, Canadian forensic scientist, founder of Ratanak International
  • John McConaghy, Australian founder of McConaghy Boats in 1967, known for their work on yachts for the America's Cup, Kenwood Cup, Maxi Worlds and Admirals cup

The McConaghy Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtutis gloria merces
Motto Translation: Glory is the reward of valour.

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. 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)
  3. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 86) on Facebook