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 137 words (10 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.
Migration of the Whinney family to the New World and Oceana
left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families
suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia
or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence
. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine
of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Whinney name: Adam Sweeney, who settled in New York, NY in 1805; Alexander Sweeney, who came to Boston in 1768; Biddy Sweeney, who arrived in St. John, N.B. aboard the Brig Ambassador in 1834.
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