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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish McGuinness family come from? What is the Irish McGuinness family crest and coat of arms? When did the McGuinness family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McGuinness family history?

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


Many different spelling variations of the surname McGuinness 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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGuinness 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 McGuinness History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Irish families began to migrate to North America in the late 18th century in the hopes of gaining their own plot of land. The majority of these early immigrant families were relatively well off because the transatlantic passage was costly. As a result the decision to immigrate was carefully made. Those immigrants that arrived in the late 1840s differed because their decision to leave was in direct response to the Great Potato Famine. Many of the families that crossed the Atlantic during this decade were destitute, either having spent all they had on the fare or even starting with nothing, but being sponsored by a philanthropic society. Whenever, these Irish families came to North America, they were made great contributions to the developing nations of the United States and what would come to be known as Canada: the earlier settlers as land clearing homesteaders, and the later immigrants as the muscle that would build the industries and routes of transportation so critical to a powerful nation. Research into the passenger and immigration lists has shown many early and significant Irish immigrants bearing the name McGuinness:

McGuinness Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Matthew McGuinness, who landed in New York in 1836
  • Margt McGuinness, aged 19, arrived in New York, NY in 1849
  • Catharine McGuinness, aged 20, landed in New York in 1854
  • Kitty McGuinness, aged 18, landed in New York in 1854
  • John McGuinness, aged 25, arrived in New York, NY in 1855

McGuinness Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas McGuinness, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Omega"


  • Edward "Ed" McGuinness, American comic book artist and penciller, best known for his work on Superman, Superman/Batman and Hulk
  • Catherine McGuinness (b. 1934), former justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland
  • Frank McGuinness (b. 1953), award-winning Irish playwright and poet
  • James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (b. 1950), Irish Sinn Féin politician, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland since 2007
  • Jason McGuinness (b. 1982), Irish footballer
  • Paul McGuinness (b. 1951), German-born, Irish manager of U2, PJ Harvey and The Rapture
  • Mairead McGuinness (b. 1959), Irish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP)
  • Patrick Joseph "Paddy" McGuinness (b. 1973), English stand-up comedian and comedy actor
  • Wilfred "Wilf" McGuinness (b. 1937), former English football player and manager
  • Kevin McGuinness (b. 1976), Indigenous Australian retired professional rugby league footballer



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  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  11. ...

The McGuinness Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGuinness 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 15 March 2015 at 15:05.

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