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Home: Surnames: Maginnis Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Family Name ethymology -hope this helps some
Posted by: john maginnis Date: December 06, 2001 at 19:43:50
In Reply to: Family Name ethymology by Patrick Maginnis of 164

Magennis -
Mag Aonghusa

Includes the various spellings of the McGinnis name. (Guinness McGenis MacGinnis MacGuinness MacInnes)

MacAonghusa comes from the personal name, Aonghus, which means one choice - hardly applicable to their name, as they have at least sixteen different ways of spelling it!

This prominent Irish family is recorded as far back as the fifth century, the time of St. Patrick, and their descendants have been both illustrious and notorious. At one time the Magennis clansman were the Lords of Iveagh in County Down. In the nineteenth century, this ancient title was adopted by the internationally famous Guinness family of brewers, since which time the head of the firm has been an Earl of Iveagh. Iveagh House in Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin, the fine headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs, was just one of the many gifts to the nation made by this philanthropic family. "Uncle Arthur" is Dublin's nickname for the firm of Arthur Guinness which, since 1759, has been making the black porter that has made the family millionaires.

There were many Magennis fortresses in Ulster, most of which were destroyed following the Anglo-Norman invasion in the twelfth century. The castle at Rathfriland, near Newry, was destroyed by the Cromwellians, but there are remains of their twelfth-century fortress at Dundrum.

In the sixteenth century, Sir Conn Magennis and his wife ransacked Newry and horribly ill-treated its Protestant inhabitants. Also in the sixteenth century, in complete contrast, there were two worthy bishops, Arthur Magennis and Hugo Magennis (d. 1640). The family has had a long succession of bishops, both Catholic and Protestant, but Arthur managed to be both at the same time!

In the eighteenth century, following the exodus of many exiled Irish, many Magennis soldiers served with distinction in the armies of France, Austria, and Spain.

Charles Donagh Magennis (1867-1955), who was trained as an architect in Dublin, built many fine churches, schools and colleges in the USA, and also designed the bronze doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Viscount Elveden, a Guinness heir, was killed in the Second World War. The only Northern Ireland man to win a Victoria Cross in the Second World War was leading Leading Seaman James Magennis, was ceremoniously honoured in Bradford, where he died in 1986. Also in Northern Ireland, Ken Magennis is the Ulster Unionist Party spokesman on security.

The Magennis armorial shield shows a yellow lion on a green field with the red hand of Ulster on top.

from The DICTIONARY of Irish Family Names by Ida Grehan, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1997.

Origin of the McGinnis Name

The modern spelling of this name is usually MacGuinness or MacGenis but in the historical records in English they are as a rule Magennis, a form still to be found in some places today. In Irish the name is MagAonghusa, i.e. son of Angus. They are descended from Saran, chief of Dal Araidhe in St. Patrick's time and thence to Eochaidh Cobha of Iveagh, County Down. Like the chiefs of many of the great Irish septs Magennis took advantage of the English policy of "surrender and regrant" warly in the seventeenth century; earlier they were often at loggerheads with the ecclesiatical authorities and they showed a tendency to accept the tenets of the Reformation; conforming bishops include two Magennisses - one of the diocess of Down, the other of Dromore. However, by 1598 the Magennis chief of the time, whoe father was officially regarded as "the civillest of all the Irish in these parts," had joined Yyrone (who was his brother-in-law) and thus "returned to the rudeness of the country." A generation later their loyalty to Ireland and the ancient faith was undoubted. The Franciscan Bishop of Down and Connor, Hugh Magennis (d. 1640), was closely related to Viscount Iveagh and many of the Gaelic nobility of Ulster. They were consistently on the Irish side during the resistance to English aggression in that century and after the disasters following the battle of Boyne they were finally dispossessed of their wide patrimony in Co. Down, much of which had been planted with English (not Scottish) settlers after the Cromwellian war. Many of them took service as Wild Geese. The best known of these was Brian Magennis, second Viscount Iveagh, who was colonel of Iveagh's Regiment in the Austrian Imperial Army and was killed in action in 1703. His brother Roger Magennis, third Viscount (d. 1709), served both France and Spain with distinction. The present Lord Iveagh (of the second creation), head of the largest brewery concern in the world - Guinness of Dublin - though not a direct descendant of the lords of Iveagh mentioned above, belongs to a cognate family of Co. Down, This family spent very large sums on improvement of housing and social conditions in the city of Dublin as well as on the upkeep of St. Patricks Cathedral and its surrounding.

General John R. MacGuinness (b.1840), the American soldier, was born in Dublin.

Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origin by Edward MacLysaght, published by Hodges Figgis & Co., Ltd. 1957.

According to the Franciscan Michael O' Cleirigh born 1580 in his Annals of the Four Masters, the Magennis pedigree comes from the line of King Milesius of Spain. I urge readers of the following pedigree to read it for enjoyment, but to remember that there were obviously no primary sources to document these claims! I include the pedigree on The Olive Tree for fun only and not as a definitive genealogy. With that in mind, read on and form your own opinion!

King Milesius' fifth son Ir, (aka Hyrus) landed in Ireland in 558 BC with an expeditionary force. The Book of Invasions tells how Ir conquered Ireland. It is said that from Ir's son Heber Donn, and Ir's brothers Heber and Heremon all the Milesian people of Ireland and Scotland are descended. The provincial kings of Ulster descend from Ir and his son Heber Donn. The Magennises of Co. Down are said to be descended from Ir/Hyrus through his son Heber Donn.

Milesius was md. to Queen Scotia and his crest was 3 lions. His sons Heber and Heremon (Ir's brothers) and grandson Heber Donn (Ir's son) after dividing Ireland between themselves, each took one lion on his own shield and banner, but each took a different colour. The arms of the Magennis clam are a golden lion on a green shield surmounted by a red right hand.

"Vert a lion rampant or, on a chief argent a dexter hand erect couped at the wrist gules"

There are presently at least 16 variants of the surname:

~ MaGuinness ~ Maguiness ~ Maguinness ~ Magenis ~ Magennis ~ Maginness ~ Maginnis ~ Genis ~ McGenis ~ McGennis ~ McGenniss ~ McGinnes ~ McGinness ~ McGiniss ~ McGinnis ~ McGinniss ~ Meginniss ~ McGuiness ~ McGuinnes ~ Guinness ~ McGuinness ~ McGuinnessy ~

There are at least two ancient spellings of the surname ~ MagAonghusa and MagAonguis, meaning "son of Adam".

a poem written by John O'Dugan refers to the 14th century head of the sept:

"Lord of the noble Clan Aedha Magenis the illustrious and beautiful; They selected the warm hilly country They were the Lords of all Uladh"

Aedha or Aohda came from the ancestor Aodh or Hugh.

Annals of the Four Masters shows the pedigree of the Magennis clan as follows:
King Milesius of Spain m. Queen Scotia
GEN 1 ~Ir aka Hyrus
GEN 2 ~Heber Donn

GEN 7 ~Crimthann Ollamh Foidiah (27th monarch of Ireland) who began his reign
of Ireland in 1317 B.C. It was Ollamh Fodiah who first institutued the
Parliament at Tara.

GEN 49 ~Siorlamh (49th monarch of Ireland) who was killed in 855 BC

GEN 62 ~Rodricus Magnus aka Rory Mor (86th monarch of Ireland)

Rodricus Magnus aka Rory Mor. Rodricus is said to have had two sons: Rossius,
from whom the O'Farrell family descends, and Kionga from whom descend all
Guinness, MacGuinness and Magenis families of Ireland. The genealogy is:

GEN 62 ~Rodricus Magnus aka Rory Mor
GEN 63 ~Kionga - the ancestor of the Guinness,
MacGuinness and Magenis families
GEN 64 ~Cappa
GEN 65 ~Fachnaus Fathach (92nd monarch of Ireland)
GEN 66 ~Cass
GEN 67 ~Amergin
GEN 68 ~Conall Cearnach, warrior of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster
GEN 69 ~Iriel Glunmar
GEN 70 ~Fiacha Fionn Amhnais (24th King of Ulster)
GEN 71 ~Muredach Fionn
GEN 72 ~Fionnchadh
GEN 73 ~Connchadh aka Donnchadh
GEN 74 ~Gialchad
GEN 75 ~Cathbha
GEN 76 ~Rochradh
GEN 77 ~Mal (107th monarch of Ireland)
GEN 78 ~Cearb
GEN 79 ~Breasal Breac
GEN 80 ~Tiobraid Tireach (30th King of Ulster)
GEN 81 ~Fergus Galeang aka Foghias
GEN 82 ~Aongas Gobhneann
GEN 83 ~Fiacha Araidhe (37th King of Ulster) - the present County of Down
and part of Antrim were named for him
GEN 84 ~Cass
GEN 85 ~Felim
GEN 86 ~Iomchadh
GEN 87 ~Rosse
GEN 88 ~Luigheach
GEN 89 ~Eocah Cobba from whom Iveagh, a territory in the County of Down,
took its' name.
GEN 90 ~Crunnbhadrot
GEN 91 ~Caolha (123rd and last monarch of the Irian race)
GEN 92 ~Connall
GEN 93 ~Fotha
GEN 94 ~Maine
GEN 95 ~Saraan
GEN 96 ~Mongan
GEN 97 ~Aidan Aka Foghartach
GEN 98 ~Breassal Beldearg
GEN 99 ~Connor
GEN 100 ~Daniel
GEN 101 ~Blathmac
GEN 102 ~Laignan
GEN 103 ~Edeadha

GEN 104 ~Aongus or Aneas Mor, the ancestor of Guinness,
MacGuinnes and Magenis families

GEN 105 ~Aongus Oge
GEN 106 ~Eachmile aka Oghmeel

GEN 107 ~Aongus Guinness, the first of the family to take
this surname
GEN 108 ~Eachmile
GEN 109 ~Flahertach
GEN 110 ~Hugh Rathmhar
GEN 111 ~Dubhinse
GEN 112 ~Gilcom
GEN 113 ~Roger aka Rory
GEN 114 ~Eachmile
GEN 115 ~Murtoch Riaganach
GEN 116 ~Arthur
GEN 117 ~Hugh
GEN 118 ~Art
GEN 119 ~Hugh
GEN 120 ~Daniel
GEN 121 ~Daniel Oge
GEN 122 ~Hugh aka Ferdinand
GEN 123 ~Art Roe
GEN 124 ~Hugh Oge
GEN 125 ~Arthur

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