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Surname MacTiernan - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

MacTiernan: What does the surname MacTiernan mean?

MacTiernan is an Irish surname with Gaelic origins. Derived from the original Gaelic version "Mac Tighearnain," it means "son of the lord" or "son of the master." The surname suggests a historical family connection to individuals of rank or authority. The MacTiernan family was part of a powerful ancient clan in County Cavan, in the northern province of Ulster. The area known as Tullyhunco in County Cavan was historically known as the Lordship of Tullyhunco, ruled by the MacTiernan family until the 1600s. Therefore, the surname not only signifies heritage, but also a long lineage of power and regional control. Like many other Irish surnames, it has various spellings, including MacTiernan, McTiernan, McTernan, and others.

MacTiernan: Where does the name MacTiernan come from?

The surname MacTiernan is of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic "Mac Tighearnain," which means "son of Tighearnan." The name Tighearnan itself originates from the Gaelic word "tighearna," meaning "lord" or "master.” Hence, the name can be translated as "son of the lord or the master." The MacTiernan family were traditional Gaelic Irish lords in the kingdom of Breifne, which is predominantly in the modern county of Cavan, but also parts of Southern County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.

Today, MacTiernan, along with its various spelling variants such as Tiernan, McTiernan, and McKiernan, is predominantly found in Ireland, especially in the North Connacht region and the counties of Leitrim and Sligo. Some descendants eventually migrated to other English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom due to historical circumstances such as the Great Famine or in pursuit of better opportunities, making the name fairly common in these countries as well. However, it remains less common globally compared to other Irish surnames.

Variations of the surname MacTiernan

The surname MacTiernan is of Irish origin and variants include MacTiernen, McTiernan, McTieran, McTernan, and McTiernon. Shorter version of this name is Tiernan or Tierney which are also seen without the Mac/Mc prefix, denoting "son of". Other spellings, evolved over time and due to geographical locations, include MacThiernan, McThiernan, MacTernan, MacTiernon, and MacTierney. It's also worth noting that these names can also interchangeably use 'Mac' or 'Mc' based on individual family preferences. This interchangeability often depends on whether the Irish or the less formal Scots Gaelic was used; 'Mac' is Irish while 'Mc' is Scots Gaelic, both mean 'son of'. The surname is derived from the Gaelic "Mac Tighearnain" where 'tighearna' means 'lord' or 'master'. In some cases, the name may have been anglicized to Lord, given the meaning. The name also got dispersed and modified in various regions like Scotland and North America due to Irish diaspora, so one might find rare variants in these regions.

Famous people with the name MacTiernan

  • Alannah MacTiernan: An Australian politician who has served in various roles in both state and federal government. She is a member of the Australian Labor Party and has served as the Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; and Ports in the Western Australian McGowan government.
  • John MacTiernan: An Australian jurist who served as a Justice of the High Court of Australia. He was also a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, where he remained until 1976.
  • Robert MacTiernan: a former Canadian politician who served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs of Quebec. He was also a member of the National Assembly of Quebec and a member of the Liberal Party. These are the most notable individuals with the last name of MacTiernan. Please note that spelling variations might exist since it's an Irish surname, meaning "son of a lord."

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