This famous Irish clan surname, recorded in many and varied spellings, descends from the early scholars of Ireland known as the "saoi". The spellings forms include MacGinty, MacEntee, Ginty, Genty and Ginity, but however found the name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac an tSaoi", or the son of the scholar. Given that the clan were long famous for their territorial and disputes with their neighbours, to some it may suggest that the name was a nickname, and an ironic one at that! What is certain is that for variest reasons not unconnected with song, the clan is well known world wide.The modern "homeland" is County Donegal, and in particular those parts which border on Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, and without the prefix is popular in County Mayo. The name was well recorded in both the 16th and 17th centuries in the spellings of MacEntee, MacEtye, MacYntie and MacAtee, and especially so in Counties Armagh and Monaghan. It seems however that as a result of Scottish protestant immigration from 1640 onwards, the clan moved westwards to their present homes. It is also claimed that adding together all the various known spellings, the nameholders are about the one hundred and fiftieth most popular name in Ireland. James McGinty and his wife Ann, were passengers on the ship Thomas of Liverpool, that left Derry on May 11th 1846. They were amongst the earliest refugees from the infamous Irish Potato Famine of 1846 - 1851. The earliest recognisable nameholder was probably Teag MacEntee, 1659, in the register known as "Petty's census of Ireland", during the reign of Richard Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1658 - 1659.
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