Recorded in many forms including Mawhinney, McWhinnie, McWhinney, McWeeney, and McQueeney, and equally recorded in both Scotland and Ireland, it is a derivative of the pre 10th century Gaelic name Mac Shuibhne. This translates as 'the son of the pleasant one'. The surname first appears on record in the mid 13th Century, (see below), and has a very confused etymology. In Scotland it was associated with the Clan MacKenzie, but in Ireland it is claimed to be a synonym for the famous Clan Buchanan. Today in Ireland the surname is most associated with Ulster, and in particular County Antrim, but in earlier times it was more prominent in County Fermanagh, some fifty families being recorded in Petty's 'Census of Ireland' undertaken in 1659. Early recordings from the Scottish homeland include Ewin Makkenye who was "sone and air" to Kenyeoch Maksorle of the Black Isle in the year 1500, and Alan McConze who was tenant of Culcowe, Ardmanoch in 1504. Other early recordings include Donal Mikenye of Kilravock in 1513, and Gilcrist Makkingze of Wigtownshire in 1513. William McQueeny of the parish of Carsfern was recorded in "The Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland" in 1684, Martha McWhinney was christened at Carnmoney, County Antrim, on December 1st 1708. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Makbeth Makkyneth. This was dated 1264, in the rolls of "Pleas held at Dull in Angus", during the reign of King Alexander 111rd of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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