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Surname McNeeley - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

McNeeley: What does the surname McNeeley mean?

The surname McNeeley is of Irish origin and is derived from the Gaelic name Mac an Fhile, which means ‘son of the poet’. It originates from a time when Ireland was divided into several different kingdoms, each with a ruling king. These kings would often employ their own private poets, who played a crucial role in recording the history of the king and his kingdom. Over time, these poets and their descendants, known as McNeeleys, gained considerable status and respect. It should be noted that variations of the McNeeley surname exist, including McNally, McAnelly, and MacNally, among others. Additionally, as with other Irish surnames, the prefix "Mc" conveys "son of," thus McNeeley can also mean "son of Neely". In general, the name carries an underlying connotation of being descendants of a respected and learned family lineage.

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McNeeley: Where does the name McNeeley come from?

The surname McNeeley is of Irish origin, stemming from the Gaelic Mac Naois, meaning "son of Naois." Naois is derived from a Gaelic term for passion or ardour. This surname is often anglicized into various forms such as McNeeley, McNeely, McNealy, and others.

The McNeeley family originally belonged to the Scottish/Irish Borderlands and later migrated to different parts of the world along with their community. After the 17th century, some of them moved to America, Canada, and Australia due to the harsh conditions of their homeland.

Today, the surname McNeeley is quite common in the United States, particularly in states like Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It can also be found in other parts of the world including Canada, New Zealand, and Australia due to historical migration patterns. However, despite the dispersion of the McNeeley family, Ireland and Scotland remain areas where this surname exists.

Variations of the surname McNeeley

The surname McNeeley, of Irish origin, has numerous variants and spellings due to regional pronunciation dialects and transcription errors in historical records. Some of the variants include McNeely, McNealey, McNeally, McNeilly, McAnally and McAnnally, in which "Mc" denotes 'son of'.

Spelling variants such as McNeilee, McNeice, and McNeilie are also prevalent. These spelling changes were also influenced by the fact that many Irish names were turned into a phonetic spelling by English clerks and priests, resulting in a plethora of variations.

Turning to surnames of the same origin, we look to the Gaelic "Mac an Fhailghigh" which means ‘son of the poor man.' Names such as MacNally, McNally, or MacAnally also derive from the same origin.

In Scotland, the analogous surname McNeely emerged from the Clan MacNeil in Barra, McNeilage, McNeillie are common variations. American variations include McNelly, McNelley, and MacNelly due to pronunciation and individual preference. It is also important to note that similar surnames may lose the Mc or Mac prefix altogether, resulting in names simply like Neely or Nealey.

Famous people with the name McNeeley

  • Tom McNeeley: Professional boxer and actor.
  • Erika McNeeley: Actor and writer who appeared in the 2018 movie Butterflies.
  • Connie McNeeley: Officer in the United States Navy who served in World War II and the Korean War.
  • Paul McNeeley: Professional poker player and entrepreneur.
  • John McNeeley: Professional golfer on the European Tour.
  • Thomas J. McNeeley: Served as a major general in the United States Air Force.
  • Bruce McNeeley: Basketball player who competed for Scotland at the 1952 Summer Olympics.
  • Joe McNeeley: Bassist and songwriter who has performed with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and The Beach Boys.
  • Sheila McNeeley: Celtic figure skater who won many national and international titles.
  • Doug McNeeley: Professional racing cyclist in the 1990s and 2000s.

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