• Magee surname history

    Magee surname history

    Hughes is common in England and Wales, where it is a patronymic, deriving from the father's name, and quite a few Irish bearing the name, particularly in Ulster, will be of English and Welsh stock. Elsewhere, it is almost always one of the anglicisations of the Irish O hAodha, from the personal name Aodh, "fire", the second most popular such anglicisation after "Hayes", since Aodh was invariably translated as "Hugh". Perhaps because of the example of the settlers, Hughes was the most frequent anglicisation amongst the Gaelic Irish in Ulster, where there were O hAodha at Ballyshannon (Co. Donegal), Ardstraw (Co. Tyrone), Tynan (Co. Armagh), Farney (Co. MOnaghan), and south Co. Down. In places, too, Hughes became the English version of Mac Aoidh or Mac Aodha, more usually given as Magee or McHugh/McCue.
    Magee, and its variants McGee, MacGee etc., come from the Gaelic Mac or Mag Aodha, from Aodh (anglicised "Hugh"), a very popular personal name meaning "fire", which also gave rise to a large number of other surnames, including Hays, Hughes, McHugh, and McCoy. The form "Magee" reflects the pronunciation of Ulster and Scottish Gaelic, with "Mag-" most common in the east of the province, and "Mac-" in the west; Ulster is the area where the name is most common by far. It can be of either Scottish or Irish origin. Three Irish families of the name are recorded: in the area now on the borders of counties Donegal and Tyrone, in the territory around Islandmagee on the coast of Antrim, and in Fermanagh, where they descend from Aodh, great-grandson of Donn Carrach Maguire, the first Maguire ruler of that region. The remainder of the Ulster Magees are descended from seventeenth-century settlers from Scotland, where the surname is most common in Dumfries, in Ayrshire and in Galloway. In Co. Cavan, Mag Aodha has also sometimes, strangely, been anglicised as "Wynne", from a mistaken resemblance to gaoth, "wind".