Origin of the Name McGuinness
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name McGuinness
include McGenis, Guinness, Magennis and Kinch. Kinch is the Manx form of MacGuinness. The modern spelling of this name is usually McGuinness or Magennis. Like the Chiefs of many of the great Irish septs Magennis took advantage of the English policy of 'surrender and regrant' early in the seventeenth century. Before this they were often at loggerheads with the ecclesiastical authorities and they showed a tendency to accept the tenets of the Reformation. Conforming bishops included two Magennises - one of the diocese of Down, the other of Dromore. However, by 1598 the Magennis chief, whose father was officially regarded as 'the civillest of all the Irish in these parts', had joined Tyrone, his brother-in-law, and thus 'returned to the rudeness of the country'.
The McGuinness coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all McGuinness descendants.