Recorded in many forms including MacGeoch, McGeoch, McGeough, McGooch, McGoff, and McGeouch, this is a surname of Scottish origins, but is if anything, more popular in its many different forms in Ireland. It derives from the ancient Gaelic 'Mac Eochadha', of which the precise translation is unclear. It may mean 'the son of the cattle dealer', or it may derive from an ancient baptismal name 'Oghy', of unproven meaning. Other loosely associated surnames include MacGahey, McGahy, MacGeoghegan, Geoghegan, and Gehegan, in that they share the same origin, and unproven meaning. What is certain is that the surname was an early entry in the Scottish records. It appears to originate from the south west of the country and specifically Galloway. The famous Irish etymologist Edward Lysacht claims that the surname is from Ulster, but appears to offer no proof. In contrast Black's 'Surnames of Scotland' offers clear evidence giving the recording of John Makgeouch, who made a will in Wigtown in the year 1473. The majority of Gaelic surnames both in Scotland and Ireland, were in origin 'nicknames' given to the first chief or first nameholder. These nicknames were often highly personal and quite basic. As an example the famous surname 'Kennedy' means 'Ugly headed one,' whilst McGall translates as 'the son of the stranger'. It can be said about most such surnames, that unless one was present when the 'naming' took place, it is quite impossible a thousand years on, to give an accurate translation of the meaning.
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