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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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

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The surname McGinnis was first found in County Down (Irish:An Dn) part of the Province of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, formerly known as county St Mirren, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Many different spelling variations of the surname McGinnis exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Genis, Guinness, Magennis, Guinnessy, McGuinness and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGinnis research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1539, 1543, 1584, 1640, 1703, 1797, 1798, 1868 and 1759 are included under the topic Early McGinnis History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 135 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGinnis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the late 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape such hunger and disease. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name McGinnis:

McGinnis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Catherine McGinnis, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745

McGinnis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Robert McGinnis, who landed in Maryland in 1802
  • Thomas McGinnis, who arrived in America in 1804
  • Roger McGinnis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • John McGinnis, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Edward McGinnis, aged 30, landed in New York in 1812


McGinnis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. George McGinnis U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mr. John McGinnis U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 son of Roberth McGinnis
  • Mr. Richard McGinnis U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 son of Roberth McGinnis
  • Mr. Robert McGinnis U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mrs. Sarah McGinnis U.E., (McGinness, McGinn, Magin), (ne Kast) (b. 1716) born in New York, USA who settled in Canada c. 1784 married having one son George


McGinnis Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William McGinnis, who landed in Canada in 1832
  • John McGinnis, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • James McGinnis, aged 2, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Sally McGinnis, aged 25, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Betty McGinnis, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833


McGinnis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mrs. Mary McGinnis, aged 36, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"

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  • Brigadier-General Harold Alling McGinnis (1893-1986), American Inspector-General, 8th Air Force (1942-1944)
  • Shannon McGinnis (b. 1980), American soap opera actress
  • Scott McGinnis (b. 1958), American actor and director, best known as Mr. Adventure in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • Ryan McGinnis (b. 1987), American NHL ice hockey player
  • Ross A. McGinnis (1987-2006), American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Howard Justus McGinnis (1882-1971), American academic
  • George McGinnis (b. 1950), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Charles McGinnis (1906-1995), American Olympic bronze medalist
  • Michael D. McGinnis, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Chico, California, 1994-96; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 2008
  • Nancy McGinnis, American Democrat politician, Presidential Elector for Washington, 2000

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  1. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  11. ...

The McGinnis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGinnis 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 24 April 2016 at 18:50.

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