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

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The surname McGuinness was 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.

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.


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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.

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

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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"

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  • Edward "Ed" McGuinness, American comic book artist and penciller, best known for his work on Superman, Superman/Batman and Hulk
  • Peter J. McGuinness, American Democrat politician, Member of New York Democratic State Committee, 1930-36; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1936
  • Patrick McGuinness, American politician, Supervisor of Scio Township, Michigan, 1877-79
  • Pat McGuinness, American Republican politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 50th District, 2010
  • Louis J. McGuinness, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 1st District, 1950; Candidate for Michigan State Board of Education, 1951
  • John F. McGuinness, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 13th District, 1908
  • John McGuinness, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Torrington, 1926
  • James A. McGuinness, American politician, First Selectman of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1897
  • Cornelius P. McGuinness, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Stamford, Connecticut, 1936-51
  • Mairead McGuinness (b. 1959), Irish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP)

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  1. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. 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).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  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 19 February 2016 at 14:45.

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