Whinney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Whinney is Mac Suibhne, which is derived from the word "suibhne," which means "pleasant."

Early Origins of the Whinney family

The surname Whinney was first found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel. The name is derived from Suibhne O'Neill, who was a chieftain in Argyll, Scotland. His descendants migrated to Ireland as gallowglasses (mercenaries) prior to 1267. The three great septs of this name finally established themselves in Tirconnell in 14th century; they were known as MacSweeney Fanad, MacSweeney Banagh, and MacSweeney na dTuath, who were commonly referred to as 'MacSweeney of the Battleaxes.' They later became attached to the MacCarthys in the south and acquired their own territories and castles in Muskerry in County Cork.

Early History of the Whinney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whinney research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1299 and 1310 are included under the topic Early Whinney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Whinney Spelling Variations

People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Whinney that are preserved in archival documents are MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

Early Notables of the Whinney family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was John MacSween, a 13th-14th century nobleman who lost his lands in Scotland after the defeat of the forces and death of Alexander Og MacDonald, Lord of Islay in 1299. In...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Whinney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Whinney migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Whinney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Whinney, Sr., (b. 1792), aged 42, English convict who was convicted in Durham, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Whinney (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Bostock Whinney FRIBA (1860-1926), English architect based in London
  • Margaret Dickens Whinney FBA (1897-1975), English art historian who taught at the Courtauld Institute, daughter of Thomas Bostock Whinney
  • Reginald Fife "Bob" Whinney DSC (1909-1993), English Royal Navy Captain, Commander of HMS Wanderer which destroyed three U-boats
  • Michael Humphrey Dickens Whinney (1930-2017), English Church of England bishop, Archdeacon of Southwark, Bishop of Aston, Bishop of Southwell


  1. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant


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