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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
  • Mairead McGuinness (b. 1959), Irish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP)
  • Paul McGuinness (b. 1951), German-born, Irish manager of U2, PJ Harvey and The Rapture
  • Jason McGuinness (b. 1982), Irish footballer
  • James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (b. 1950), Irish Sinn Féin politician, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland since 2007
  • Frank McGuinness (b. 1953), award-winning Irish playwright and poet
  • Catherine McGuinness (b. 1934), former justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland
  • Mr. James Edward McGuinness (d. 1941), British Boy 1st Class, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Richard McGuinness (d. 1914), British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th
  • Mr. John McGuinness, British Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914



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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. 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).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  7. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. 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.
  10. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. 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 15 March 2015 at 15:05.

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