Recorded in many forms including MacGuiness, McGuiness, MacGenis, McGinnis, MaGennis, Guiness and Guinness, this is a very famous Irish surname. It is a developed form of the Gaelic 'Mag Aonghusa', for the elements 'mac' although in ancient times frequently written as 'mag' before a vowel, meaning 'son of' and Aonghus a personal name meaning 'unique choice' The first bearer of the name is believed to be Aonghus Turimleach, one of three Irish brothers, who invaded Scotland in the 3rd century b.c and who gave his name to the district of Angus. The ancestry of the Gaelic Irish McGuinness family goes back to a 5th Century chief of Dal Araidhe. By the 12th Century they had become territorial lords of Iveagh in County Down, and their fortress was at Rathfriland. Several of the clan fought with Hugh O' Neill at the victorious battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598. The present Lord Iveagh, is head of the largest brewery concern in the world - Guinness of Dublin, which was set up by Arthur Guinness in 1759. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag Mag Aonghusa. This was dated 1150, in "Early records of Iveagh", in County Down. This was during the reign of Turlough Mor O' Connor, High King of Ireland, 1119 - 1156. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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