This notable and long-established clan surname recorded in a variety of spellings which include MacNish, MacNeice, and the short forms begining 'Mc', and other variants such as Minnis, Mannice and Munnis, is both Scottish and Irish. It derives from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic "MacNaois", a patronymic form of the male name 'Aonghus', the modern Angus, and meaning "enterprise". This ancient name was borne by 'Aonghus', an 8th Century Pictish king, who gave his name to the county of Angus in Scotland. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving rolls and charters of the medieval period include: John Dow MacNeische who witnessed a charter at Grantully in 1494, and Jonete Macknes, who was a tenant in Drumgy, Menteith, in 1495. The clan once possessed much of the upper part of Perthshire, until they lost it to the Macnabs in a battle fought in the year 1522. The famous Irish etymologist 'Maclysaght, claimed that the clan were a branch of Clan MacGregor, who were outlawed in 1608 for various acts of violence against the state and the neighbouring clans. This may be so, as two clan members Donald McNysche and Jon McNysche, followers of the earl of Cassilis were 'respited' for murder in 1526. Other recordings include: Mary Minnis, the daughter of Neale Minnis, who was christened at Dundalk, County Louth, on April 5th 1754, and Mary Meenes, who married Peter Leeson at St Peters church, Dublin, on April 15th 1759. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilmore Macnesche, which was dated 1376, in "Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morton", during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390.
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