Surname MacAvoy - Meaning and Origin
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MacAvoy: What does the surname MacAvoy mean?
The surname MacAvoy has Irish origins. It is derived from the Gaelic name "MacGhilleBhaogh", which translates to "son of the servant of St. Bhaogh". It was a patronymic name where "Mac" signified "son of" and "GhilleBhaogh" meant "servant of Bhaogh". Bhaogh is interpreted as a derivative of the name "Bo", referring to St. Bo, an Irish saint. Over the years and through different variations and anglicization, the name became known as MacAvoy. The name suggests a family lineage rooted in service to the church and to the saint. Variations of the surname include MacEvoy, McEvoy, MacAvoy, McAboy, MacGeevoy, and others. The MacAvoy and its variants are predominantly found in the Leinster region of Ireland.
MacAvoy: Where does the name MacAvoy come from?
The surname MacAvoy originates from Ireland. It is derived from the Gaelic name "MacGhilleBhuidhe," which means "son of the fair-haired lad." It is highly probable that MacAvoy arose as a nickname for the original bearer, eventually becoming a formal surname.
It was traditionally found in the county of Monaghan, where the MacAvoys held a family seat as a clan, during ancient times.
As a result of the massive Irish diaspora during the 17th to 19th centuries that saw millions of Irish people settling in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, people bearing the surname MacAvoy can now be found around the globe. However, it predominantly appears in places with a significant Irish presence such as the United States and the British Isles.
Although it is not a very common surname, its variants like McAvoy and McAvey have a wider distribution and higher frequency, especially in Northern Ireland, where it is more frequently spelled McAvoy. Please note that spelling variations were often created based on the phonetic spelling of the name by immigration officials, clergy, or census takers.
Variations of the surname MacAvoy
The surname MacAvoy has Irish origin and can be traced back to the Gaelic MacGilmhoire, a patronymic name meaning "the son of a devotee of the Virgin Mary." It is prevalent in Northern Ireland, mainly in counties Antrim, Donegal, and Tyrone.
The surname has undergone several phonetic changes throughout its history, resulting in numerous variations and spellings. Some of these include McAvoy, MacAvoy, McEvoy, MacEvoy, McAboy, McAvay, Macavey, M'Aboy, and McEvay. The prefix ‘Mac’ or ‘Mc’ signifies 'son of' and is interchangeable in many cases.
These variations likely arose from differing interpretations of handwriting and pronunciation over time, especially as family members moved or emigrated, and census or immigration officials documented names as they heard them spoken.
Another reason for the variations is the translation from the Gaelic to English, which has no standard spelling rules. Each variation, while unique, still ties back to the original Irish Gaelic surname MacGilmhoire, preserving the ancestral heritage of those who bear the name.
Famous people with the name MacAvoy
- Ruth MacAvoy: Actress from the CBC show Kim’s Convenience.
- Dallas MacAvoy: Former professional volleyball player.
- Robin MacAvoy: Dancer and choreographer on movies such as La La Land and La La Land.
- Shane MacAvoy: Professional skateboarder.
- Tessa MacAvoy: Actress from Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
- Donald MacAvoy: Former professional hockey player.
- Juliana MacAvoy: Actress who has appeared in films such as The Greatest Showman.
- Sean MacAvoy: Voice actor in the Netflix series The Hollow.
- K.M. MacAvoy: Fantasy author.
- Laura MacAvoy: Author of the Last of Us video game novels.