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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland, made up the ancient Dalriadan kingdom, the ancestral home of the McElhinney family. Their name comes from the Gaelic expression "the son of the servant Storm."


The surname McElhinney was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Many spelling variations of McElhinney have been recorded over the years, including These are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. MacAloney, McAloney, MacAlonie, McAlonie, MacIlhenny, McIlhenny, MacIlhinny, McIlhinny, MacIlhiney, McIlhiney, MacIlhinney, McIlhinney, MacIldowney, McIldowney, MacIldownie, McIldownie, MacGilloney, McGilloney, MacGillonie, McGillonie, MacAlloon, McAlloon, MacAlooni, McAlooni, MacElheaney, McElheaney, MacElhiney, McElhiney, MacElhinney and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McElhinney research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1428 is included under the topic Early McElhinney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Some of the McElhinney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 198 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the McElhinney family emigrate to North America:

McElhinney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John McElhinney, who arrived in New York in 1839
  • James McElhinney, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Edward McElhinney, aged 23, who landed in America from Donegal, Ireland, in 1893
  • Ellen McElhinney, aged 22, who settled in America from Donegal, in 1899

McElhinney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • James McElhinney, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States from Donegal, in 1902
  • Catherine McElhinney, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Donegal, in 1903
  • Bridget McElhinney, aged 60, who landed in America from Derry, Ireland, in 1908
  • Letitia McElhinney, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States from Carrigart, Ireland, in 1910
  • Bernard McElhinney, aged 10, who emigrated to America from Carndonagh, Ireland, in 1911
  • ...

  • Andrew Repasky McElhinney (b. 1979), American film producer
  • Ian McElhinney (b. 1948), Irish three-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominated actor and director, known for City of Ember (2008), Leap Year (2010) and Game of Thrones (2011)
  • Mandy McElhinney, Australian Australian Film Institute Award winning and two-time Logie Award nominated actress, known for appearing in the TV sketch comedy series Comedy Inc
  • John McElhinney, Irish founder of McElhinney's, a department store located in Ballybofey, County Donegal in 1971, the largest department store outside The Pale
  • Robert McElhinney (1747-1831), Irish-born, Canadian politician who represented Londonderry township in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1790 to 1799
  • Francis Gerard "Gerry" McElhinney (b. 1956), Irish sportsman who played Gaelic football
  • Curtis McElhinney (b. 1983), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey goaltender

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: Aonaibh ri cheile
Motto Translation: Unite.


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    Other References

    1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
    5. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
    10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The McElhinney Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The McElhinney Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 6 April 2015 at 11:12.

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