McCormick Surname Genealogy

surname McCormick or McCormack is an anglicized form of the Old
Gaelic patronymic MacCormaigor
or “son of Cormac,” Cormac being a
personal name from the Celtic corbmac
meaning “charioteer.”
An early mention of the name occurred in 880 when the
monks of the Abbey of Iona off Scotland recorded the demise of their
abbot Fedorach MacCormaic.  The
name was also popular in Ireland during
medieval times – in part due to Saint Cormac, the first Bishop of
Cashel in
southern Ireland.
The main spelling variants today are McCormick and McCormack.  McCormack is more common in Ireland, McCormick elsewhere.

McCormick Resources on

McCormick Ancestry

Ireland. There
was, according to the Annals of the Four
, a McCormack sept in the Fermanagh-Longford area during the
14th and
15th centuries. By the late 1500’s the
McCormacks were
recorded as one of the leading gentry in county Cork, with those of
Muskerry being
powerful enough to raise a large force to assist Desmond in the
wars. Donogh McCormack, however, was killed
in an ambush in 1601. Tradition has him as the builder of Kanturk
castle in NW Cork.

Another McCormick base in Ireland
was county Antrim in Ulster where
Scots McCormicks had come from the Isle of Mull. The best-known of these
McCormicks was Captain James McCormick who
fought on the Protestant
side at the
siege of Londonderry in 1689 and was granted a coat of arms featuring a
mailed fist clutching a spear. His family subsequently emigrated

The McCormick name was also to be found in Derry; while one McCormick
family traces itself back to 1749 and John and Jane McCormick of
Drumbane in
Donegal near the border with Tyrone.

Scotland. Gilchrist mac
Cormac, the first bishop of Dunkeld in
the early 12th century, is thought to have been the progenitor of the

However, McCormicks were mainly to
be found on the west coast of Scotland, close to Ireland, where they
had been
subsumed under the McLeans of Lochbuie. McCormicks
continued on the Isle of Mull until the 19th century when the Clearances
caused an exodus
. Meanwhile
some Scots Irish McCormicks
made the reverse journey back to Scotland during the famine years.

. The early McCormicks coming
to America seem
to have been Scots or Scots Irish:

  • One
    McCormick line came to Virginia from
    Ulster around 1700. The first recorded
    of this line was John McCormick of Winchester in Virginia, born in
    1754, who
    fought on the American side in the Revolutionary War.
    He and his family later moved west to Ohio
    and then to Indiana (where they were one of the first white settlers).
  • Thomas
    McCormick, the son of the gallant Captain James McCormick, left Antrim
    Pennsylvania in 1734. One line from
    Thomas, which later included Colonel Thomas McCormick of Harrisburg,
    stayed in Pennsylvania; another line through son Robert moved south in
    1779 to the fertile
    valley in Virginia; while the line from Dr. John McCormick began in
    Frederick county, now West Virginia, and moved onto Tennessee in the
    early 1800’s.
  • John
    McCormick arrived in Pennsylvania from Scotland with
    his family as a three year old in 1759. He
    fought in the Revolutionary War and later settled in Ohio.
  • Duncan
    Katherine McCormick left Argyllshire in Scotland and came with other
    settlers to Richmond county, North Carolina in 1791.

developed his famous
reaper at the family farm at Walnut
in the Shenandoah valley. He
and his brother Leander moved to Chicago in 1847 and the McCormick family there
became one of the most powerful in America
in the mid-19th century. Robert McCormick of this
family was the
belligerent publisher of the Chicago
for over thirty years.

. The first McCormicks in Canada were probably
and Mary McCormick from Derry in Ireland who came in 1769.
Family lore has it that their vessel had been
bound for Virginia, but – as a result of a storm off Sable Island –
ended up in Nova Scotia where they decided to stay.
grants for McCormicks in Cumberland
county, Nova Scotia date from the 1820’s.

early arrivals were two
McCormick brothers, Donald and Angus, who left their Hebridean home in
on the Alexander in 1772. Donald
eventually settled on Cape Breton
Island off Nova Scotia. A number of
McCormicks from the Isle of Mull came to Ontario in the 1850’s
following the
clearances and evictions on the island.

McCormick Miscellany

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

McCormick Names

in the Blue Ridge
mountains of Virginia, invented and patented a mechanical harvesting
machine in

Peter McCormick was
the Scottish-born composer of Australia’s national anthem, Advance
Australia Fair.

John McCormack was a famous Irish
tenor of the early 20th century.
the publisher of the Chicago Tribune from 1920 to

Mark McCormack was the American lawyer
and agent who founded IMG, the international management organization
sports figures and celebrities.

McCormicks Today

  • 25,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Antrim)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 20,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)




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