Recorded originally as Magnel, later after the 15th century as Magner, and intermixed with Menarry, McNary and McNeary, this is an Irish surname, although possibly one of Norman-French origins. It would seem that a Norman settler family called Magnel entered Ireland in the 13th century and held lands in County Cork. This surname became Gaelicized as Maingneir and at much the same time apparently became 'fused' on occasion with McNary and McNeary, to give both Magner and Menarry. Anything is possible with surnames, and perhaps even more so, when a dash of both French and Gaelic is added. It is said that the Gaelic meaning is 'The son of the modest one' perhaps from 'nadrach' meaning modest, but if French then the origin is possibly occupational deriving from the word 'mangonel'. This word described a seige engine used for throwing rocks, and hence a soldier who manned such a weapon of war. The original settlers are remembered though Castlemagner in County Cork, formerly known as Mangelstown, whilst the surname as Magnar or Magner was the principle surname of the barony of Kilmore in the time of Petty's Census of Ireland in 1659.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017