This is an anglicized form of the Olde Scots Gaelic name Mac An Aistrigh, a compound of the Gaelic elements "mac", meaning "so of", plus the definite article "an", and the personal\nickname Aistrigh (from "Aistreach", a traveller). The surname was originally chiefly found in Galloway and is first recorded there in the late 16th Century, (see below). A further variant M'Kinstrie appears in 1593. Today, the name is widespread in Northern Ireland, having been introduced by the Scottish settlers. On May 27th 1792, William son of Thomas and Mary McKinstry, was christened in Downpatrick, Co. Down, and on May 1st 1825 Martha, daughter of Ralph and Sarah McKinstry, was christened in Aghalee, Co. Antrim. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of M'Kynnistrie, which was dated 1574, Records of Galloway, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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