This famous Irish clan surname, is recorded in many spellings including MacGinty, McGinty, MacEntee, McEntee, Genty, Ginidy, Ginty, Ginity, Ginnity, Ginnety, and others. It descends from the Gaelic Mac an tSaoi meaning the son of the scholar, early scholars of Ireland being known as the "saoi". Given that the clan were long famous for their territorial disputes with their neighbours, has lead some to suggest that the surname was a nickname, and an ironic one at that! What is certain is that for varied 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 a prefix in County Mayo. The name was well recorded in both the 16th and 17th centuries in the spellings of MacEntee, MacEtye, MacYntie and MacAtee, especially 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 by adding together all the various known spellings, the nameholders represent about the one hundred and fiftieth most popular name in Ireland, Murphy being the first. Recordings include James McGinty and his wife Ann, who were passengers on the ship Thomas of Liverpool, that left Derry on May 11th 1846 bound for New Yorks, whilst Michael Ginnity and his wife Mary were recorded at Cootehill, County Cavan, on June 16th 1866. The earliest recognisable nameholder recording is believed to be that of Teag MacEntee, in the register known as "Petty's census of Ireland", during the reign of Richard Cromwell, The Lord Protector, 1658 - 1659.
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