Select Maguire Surname Genealogy

Maguire is an Irish clan surname from the Gaelic Mac Uidhir, meaning "son of Odhar" or "son of the pale-colored one."  The name Mag Uidhir appeared in the Annals of Ulster in the year 956.  The Mag Uidhir sept first made its presence known in the Ulster county of Fermanagh in the 13th century. 

Its anglicized names are Maguire and McGuire.  The Maguire spelling is more common in Ireland.

Select Maguire/McGuire Resources on The Internet

Select Maguire/McGuire Ancestry

IrelandThe Maguire clan became dominant in Fermanagh in the mid-13th century after supplanting former chieftains in the area.  The first Maguire to become prince of Fermanagh was Donn Carragh Maguire who died in 1302.  By the end of the 16th century, the Maguires controlled almost all of the land within the present day boundaries of Fermanagh.  The territory was in fact known as "Maguire's Country."

The seat of the senior branch of the Maguires was at Lisnaskea, that of the junior branch at Enniskillen castle.
  The strategic location of Maguire’s castle on an island between the upper and lower Erne allowed the Maguires to control the passage of all ships between the lakes and the flow of goods into the surrounding areas.  The Maguire chieftains’ navy of 1,500 boats patrolled the waterways of the lake system that extended about forty miles.

The Maguire clan was noted for its fighting qualities and was therfore particularly targeted during the English conquest of Ireland.  Hugh Maguire died fighting the English in 1600 and Maguire land was confiscated by the English five years later. 
Cuchonnacht Maguire departed Ireland at the time of the Flight of the Earls.

There was some reprieve for the Maguires in the 1620’s when they received back part of their lands.  But Connor Maguire took part in the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and was foully executed for his pains.  A later Maguire chief fought for King James at the Battle of the Boyne.  After the defeat in 1691, many Maguires fled abroad and joined the Irish Brigades in France and Austria.  Maguire chieftains continued abroad.

Today, those with the spelling Maguire are still largely associated with Fermanagh, although the name has also spread to neighboring counties.
  Those who use the McGuire spelling in Ireland may have their origins in Mayo or Roscommon.

America.  Edward McGuire came to Virginia in the 1740’s from county Kerry and prospered.  One of his sons John distinguished himself in the Revolutionary War and later was a well-known Indian fighter.  His family settled in Kentucky.  Another son Edward was pastor of St. George’s church, Fredericksburg for forty five years; while son Hugh was a noted eye surgeon.  His son Hunter was surgeon to Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War.  Their story was covered in W.G. Stanard’s 1926 book The McGuire Family in Virginia. 

There were other McGuires in Virginia during colonial times.  Among the McGuires who fought in the Revolutionary War were one Archibald and two Williams.  Archibald who fought at Tippecanoe came to Kentucky in 1800 and settled in Lee county.  The first William received his pension in Tazewell county in 1833 and died there four years later.  The second William had his family captured and taken to Quebec during the conflict.

“The family story handed down was that when they were released from prison they had to walk back to their home.  They slept in graveyards to be protected from the Indians.  One little boy froze to death there.  The other son lived because he was held in his mother’s arms inside her coat.”

The family later settled in Tennessee.

There was another Catholic McGuire family in colonial times in Chester county, Pennsylvania.  John McGuire, a Loyalist, was “hunted out by over-zealous Whigs” and departed in 1776 for Nova Scotia.  His son Thomas became a noted priest and writer in Quebec.

Australia.  Many of the early Maguires in Australia were convicts.  Patrick Maguire, for instance, was transported to Australia from Westmeath on the Guildford in 1829. 

William McGuire came from Scotland, although he was probably of Irish stock.  He served in the British army.  However, his penalty for striking an officer was a lashing and transportation.  He came to Australia in 1836.  After receiving his release he was a shepherd for a while and later bought sheep-grazing land near Armidale, NSW.  In his later days he may have encountered the infamous bushranger Captain Thunderbolt who prowled that area.  His daughter-in-law Margaret, who lived to be 106 and died in 1960, claimed to have offered him shelter.

Select Maguire Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Maguire/McGuires Names

ugh Maguire was the Lord of Fermanagh killed in 1600 fighting the English during the Nine Years War.
John Francis Maguire
, the son of a Cork merchant, founded the Cork Examiner newspaper.
The Molly Maguires
was a 19th century secret society that terrorized law officers in Ireland and in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.
Peter McGuire
was an American labor leader of the late 19th century.
Tom Maguire, who fought in the Irish War of Independence, was a long-serving member of the IRA (Irish Republican Army).  He lived to be 101.
William McGuire
is an American executive who made the UnitedHealth Group one of the largest healthcare companies in the world.
Mark McGwire
was one of baseball’s leading home-run hitters in his career between 1986 and 2001.  But his reputation has been sullied by steroid use.

Select Maguires/McGuires Today
  • 28,000 in the UK (most numerous in Fermanagh)
  • 30,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 31,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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