Maguire Surname Genealogy

Maguire is an Irish clan surname from the Gaelic Mac
meaning “son of Odhar” or “son of the pale-colored one.”
The name
Uidhir appeared in the Annals of
the year 956. The
Uidhir sept first made
its presence known in the Ulster county of Fermanagh in the 13th
Its anglicized
names are Maguire and McGuire
.  The
Maguire spelling is more common in Ireland.

Maguire/McGuire Resources on

Maguire/McGuire Ancestry

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
who died in 1302. By the end of
the 16th century, the Maguires controlled almost all of the land within
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
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

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
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
continued abroad.

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

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.
was covered in W.G. Stanard’s 1926 book The
McGuire Family in Virginia

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.

family story handed
down was that when they were released from prison they had to walk back
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

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”
departed in 1776 for Nova Scotia. His son
Thomas became a noted priest and writer in Quebec.

Australia. Many of the early
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.

Maguire Miscellany

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

Maguire/McGuires Names

Hugh Maguire was the Lord of Fermanagh
killed in 1600 fighting the English during the Nine Years War.

Francis Maguire
the son of a Cork
merchant, founded the Cork Examiner

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
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

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)




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