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Surname McNaboe - Meaning and Origin

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McNaboe: What does the surname McNaboe mean?

The surname McNaboe is an anglicized variation of the Gaelic or Irish name Mag Nabhach, which translates as “son of the nobleman.” It is a relatively rare name, most often associated with Counties Armagh and Down in Northern Ireland.

The McNaboe clan originated in County Fermanagh, and is thought to derive from the ancient Culdee Church located there. In the 5th century, Saint Patrick evangelized in County Fermanagh, establishing a Christian community, which gave rise to a series of church families. These families eventually became the McNaboe Clan.

The McNaboe name is steeped in Irish history, specifically the Ulster Plantation of the early 1600’s. During this time, the British Crown introduced a policy of Anglicization as a means to pacifying a population still strongly attached to their Irish culture. This included forcing the local Gaelic nobility to accept English titles and in the process, many Irish clans adopted anglicized versions of their traditional surnames. The McNaboe Clan was no exception, and the surname Mag Nabhach evolved into McNaboe.

In the 19th century, after the Great Famine, many members of the McNaboe Clan, like the Irish people generally, emigrated to countries such as the United States, where they made successful contributions to society. To this day, the McNaboe name continues to lead a proud legacy around the world.

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McNaboe: Where does the name McNaboe come from?

The last name McNaboe is most common today in Scotland, where it is believed to have originated. The McNaboe name is originally thought to have derived from the Gaelic Mac an abaidh, which translates to “son of the abbot”, indicating that McNaboe is a patronymic name meaning “son of Abraham”.

Most people with this surname hail from the Argyll region of Scotland, which is situated on the north west coast of the mainland. Due to the Scottish Diaspora, McNaboe is now found across the world, particularly in the United States and Canada.

In the United States, the McNaboe name is most common in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Data from the 2000 US census suggests that the McNaboe name is particularly common in the Californian cities of Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Clara. The same analysis reveals that the name is also commonly found in various metropolitan areas in the Pacific Northwest, such as Seattle and Olympia.

In Canada, the most populous areas where the McNaboe family name is found are Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. The surname has its highest concentration in Ontario’s ‘golden horseshoe’, which is a region stretching along the western part of Lake Ontario from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It is also notably present in many cities throughout the prairie provinces, including Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Overall, the McNaboe name remains most prominent today in Scotland, though its distribution in the US and Canada suggests a family tree that has grown and expanded with time.

Variations of the surname McNaboe

The variant, spellings and surnames of the same origin for the surname McNaboe are MacNaboe, McNabow, MacNabow, McNabo, MacNabo, MacNabough, McNabough, and MacAnaboe. All these spellings are ultimately derived from the Scottish surname Mac an Aba from the Gaelic Mac Néill an Aba which in turn stems from the personal name Niall. This personal name probably originates from the Gaelic “Neill” meaning ‘champion’, ‘cloud’.

The various spellings of McNaboe signify the many ways Gaelic surnames have been Anglicized into English variants, and how names were affected by dialectical pronunciations. While McNaboe is the most commonly used and accepted spelling of the name, there are occasional variations, such as MacNaboe or McNabow which have persisted over the years.

The various surname variants also indicate the ways in which the name has been transmitted to different parts of the world as Scottish emigrants moved abroad. McNaboe is a popular surname in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, while MacNaboe is prevalent in the United States.

Therefore, all of the above-mentioned variants, spellings and surnames can be said to have a common origin but are subject to change over time depending on location, pronunciation, and languages spoken.

Famous people with the name McNaboe

  • David McNaboe, former Major League Baseball pitcher (1980–1991).
  • Claire McNaboe, British educationalist and campaigner who was the first woman to be appointed as a lecturer in education at London University.
  • Tom McNaboe, American inventor and businessman best known for creating Cardio Ready.
  • Sir John McNaboe, 19th-century Scottish soldier and commander of the Cameron Highlanders.
  • Brian McNaboe, Major League Baseball executive who served as Vice President of Player Personnel from 1991 to 1994.
  • Frank McNaboe, former Major League Baseball pitcher (1937–1941).
  • Helen McNaboe, Australian-born novelist and playwright.
  • Allen McNaboe, Canadian ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (1928–1931).
  • Michael McNaboe, former professional rugby league footballer in the National Rugby League (NRL).
  • P. J. McNaboe, former Irish Army officer and judge of the Court of Appeal.

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