Show ContentsMcGinn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surname McGinn originally appeared in Gaelic as Ó Finn, from the word "fionn," which means "fair." 1

Early Origins of the McGinn family

The surname McGinn was first found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times. One of the first records of the name was Aed Ó Finn, an Irish musician who died 1269. His obituary listed him as a master of music and minstrelsy.

Saint and Bishop Finn Barr (d. 623), of Cork, was son of Amergin, of the tribe of Ui Briuin Hatha of Connaught, who were descended from Eochaidh Muidmheadhon, brother of Olioll Olum, king of Munster. 2

Cumine Ailbhe or Finn (657?-669?), was seventh Abbot of Hy, the son of Ernan, son of Fiachna, of the race of Conall Gulban. "The term 'ailbhe' is explained as albus, or fair, in the 'Annals of Ulster,' and more fully in an ancient poem quoted in Reeves's 'Adamnan,' where he is referred to as 'Cumine of fair hair.' " 2

Early History of the McGinn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGinn research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1020 and 1369 are included under the topic Early McGinn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGinn Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name McGinn dating from that time include Finn, O'Finn, Maginn, Fynn, O'Fynn and others.

Early Notables of the McGinn family

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

McGinn Ranking

In the United States, the name McGinn is the 5,089th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. 3

United States McGinn migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the McGinn family relocated to North American shores quite early:

McGinn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary McGinn, aged 22, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 4
  • Thomas McGinn, aged 27, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 4
  • James McGinn, aged 32, who landed in Maryland in 1812 4
  • Rose McGinn, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 4
  • Arthur McGinn, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1851 4
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGinn migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGinn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McGinn, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838

New Zealand McGinn 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:

McGinn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Bernard McGinn, aged 34, a farm labourer, who arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1875 5

Contemporary Notables of the name McGinn (post 1700) +

  • Daniel Michael Dan" McGinn (1943-2023), American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs
  • Wayne McGinn (b. 1959), former American football coach
  • Bernard McGinn (b. 1937), American theologian, historian, and scholar of spirituality
  • John L. McGinn, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Oswald T. McGinn, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 11th District, 1940; Candidate for Michigan State Senate 29th District, 1958 6
  • Mike McGinn, American Republican politician, Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas, 1990, 1992 6
  • Michael McGinn, American politician, Mayor of Seattle, Washington, 2010- 6
  • John L. McGinn, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the 2nd District of Alaska Territory, 1901-02, 1903-04 6
  • Harriet E. McGinn, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Charlotte, North Carolina, 1847 6
  • F. L. McGinn, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1940; Democratic-Farmer-Labor Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, 1946 6
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from on Facebook