The Joy of Spelling McGuinness
In doing genealogical research it is important to check all possible surname spelling variations in sources that are consulted. Doing this for McGuinness can be quite a challenge. In the course of studying the family I have found many spelling variations for our surname. The following sixty-three spelling variations come mostly from Richard Griffith’s valuations of property ownership in Ireland collected from 1848 to 1864 (Fáilte Romhat, 2011) and at the Irish Ancestors (2011) website.
The most frequent spelling used by the chiefs of the clan is Magennis. In Gaelic the surname is spelled Mac (or Mag) Aonghusa and means the Sons of Angus. According to Patrick Guinness, the historian of the Guinness family, Mac Aonghusa is pronounced mac-a-nee-a-sa (Guinness 2008, 221, n. 14).
Our Michigan McGuinnesses most often spelled their surname as McGinnis or McGinnes. We did not start using McGuinness consistently until after 1900.
Of course the ONLY correct and proper way to spell the surname is McGuinness. Perhaps we should contact the Guinness brewery people and tell them to put the Mc back on their bottles!
Fáilte Romhat. 2011. “Griffiths Valuation 1848-1864,” http://www.failteromhat.com/griffiths.php. (24 November).
Guinness, Patrick. 2008 Arthur’s Round: The Life and Times of Brewing Legend Arthur Guinness. (London: Peter Owen Publishers).
Irish Ancestors. 2011. “Surname Search,” http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm?fuseaction=Go.&UserID=. (24 November). Search for McGuinness.
This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1999 by Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 24 November 2011. Last modified 24 November 2011. This web site is best viewed with your display set to 800 by 600 pixels, at least 256 colors, and using Netscape 4.x or better. Some of the graphics on this page are copyright © 1998, 1999 by Amanda Fisher and are used here in compliance with her terms.