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McGough Miscellanea—Random Ramblings, Rumblings, and Ruminations

My great-grandfather, John McGough, was born in 1824 in county Monaghan, Ireland. He emigrated to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in about 1851. He married Catherine Fitzpatrick there on May 20, 1855. The marriage certificate mistakenly uses the surname McGeoy. See my web page: McGoughs and McGues in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, in the 1800s. My great-grandparents, John and Catharine McGough, moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, probably in 1856, where their fourth child, my grandfather, Hugh McGough, was born on June 16, 1865. My father, Thomas Richard McGough, was born in Eau Claire on January 3, 1901. See my web page: McGoughs and McGues in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1856–1906.

This site is a collection of information that I have unearthed in trying to trace the origins of our family in Ireland. I have included material on all branches of the McGoughs, whether directly related to our family or not. I do not generally collect data on generations of McGoughs that were born after the early 1900s. My idea has been to create a data base on McGoughs in Ireland and the United States. Much of the material is from secondary sources. I have included information until I become convinced that it is unreliable. (This includes family trees posted on the Internet, many of which are good, and some of which are not so good—full of bad guesses and other misinformation.) My approach is not to dump data. I am continually reorganizing and adding to this data. As I have refined this material, I have added cross-references, eliminated repetition, and dumped some data that primary sources have shown to be unreliable.

Titles of pages on this website are listed in a master table of contents at the beginning of this site. On this page, I repeat those titles with a brief summary of each page.


 Table of Contents 

Irish-AmericanFamily Histories — Free Irish Genealogy eBooks

Peter J. Clarke has created a website that is a gold mine of more than 5,000 freely available eBooks on Irish history, biography and genealogy: Irish-American Family Histories — Free Irish Genealogy eBooks. Here is a link to his main index to the genealogy books.

Of particular interest to McGoughs are these eBooks:

* McGOUGH: McGough - Gibbons Descendants 1993Patrick McGough, Sr. b. Co. Mayo; mar. Margaret Gibbons at Burriscarra; 6 children; descendants in USA by Nancy Ann Unwin (Rochester Hills, Michigan, 1993) - FHB.

* McGOUGH: Pisgah's Earth - The Story of Mary McGough Armstrong and Her Familyof Scots-Irish background to Robert McGough and Nancy McWhorter of near Newry, Co. Down by Robert E. Parrott (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1992) - FHB.

* McGOUGH: Toner - McBride - King - O'Dowd - Horton - McGough 1795 to 2000Ireland Minnesota and Beyond; All immigrated from Ireland by Margo Horton-Davis (Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2000) - FHB,

Expanded Directory of McGough Miscellanea

Below is an expanded directory of this website with a additional comments.

In these pages, I sometimes use McGough to include McGeogh, McGeough, and other variations. Whenever the name has been taken from a public, church, or estate record, I have tried to spell the name as it appears in the record. The computerized records of some modern Irish genealogists list all forms of the surname as McGeough regardless of the spelling in original records. At first I scoffed at this practice, but as I came realize that the older Irish records treat the spellings of the surname as interchangeable,. I gained a better appreciation of the frustrations encountered in trying to keep separate the various spellings. The various spellings of the name in the records, however, are worth preserving, and I try to do so. On the other hand, in my tables and web pages, I do often disregard the older spellings of townlands and parishes in favor of the accepted modern spellings.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Here is a listing of the titles of the pages in this site:

McGough Miscellanea—Random Ramblings, Rumblings, and Ruminations. (This page.)

Pronunciation of McGough

Mac Gue, Mac Goff — or something in between?

Spelling of McGough

McGough and McGeough have been used interchangeably. McGeogh and McGogh are earlier forms of the same name.

The Great Seattle Fire—Don't Blame Jimmie McGough

A persistent mistake in histories of Seattle is that the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, originated in the paint shop of James McGough.

Sinking of the Titanic—James and George McGough Man Lifeboats

There were two McGoughs aboard the Titanic when, on its initial crossing of the Atlantic from Southampton to New York, it collided with an iceberg on April 14, 1912. A third McGough served as a crewman on the first leg of the initial voyage—from Belfast to Southampton.

Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough

A drunken brawl in 1900 led to a charge of murder on the high seas against George Francis McGough. This is almost certainly the George McGough who later served as an able-bodied seaman aboard the Titanic.

McGough Seamen—Ellis Island

Records of British and American Seamen found in the Public Records Office at Kew and on the website of Ellis Island.

Hugh McGoughs in History

Aedh Mac Eochaidh is a modern Irish spelling of Hugh McGough. Hugh McGough is my name, my grandfather's name, and my grandson's name. On this page, I have listed the Hugh McGoughs I have stumbled across in genealogical materials.

McGoughs in History

Notable McGoughs on the Net

The Kilroy Connection

My wife's mother was Anne (Nancy) Kilroy, born in Newport, county Mayo, Ireland, on March 2, 1900. My wife's grandmother was Matilda Kilroy of Newport, after whom my wife, Teel (Matilda), is named. She has several Kilroy relatives in Chicago. In looking into the McGough family history, I found some other connections between Kilroys and McGoughs, and stories of the Black-and-Tan war in Connaught, that are worth telling. Nancy Kilroy married Patrick Whelton, my wife's father.

Patrick Whelton and Anne (Nancy) Kilroy; Wheltons of County Cork and Galveston, Texas

My wife's parents, Patrick Whelton of county Cork, and Anne (Nancy) Kilroy of county Mayo, settled in Galveston, Texas, and raised their family.

What's a Magoo? A Magoozle? A McGoozle?

Our immediate family pronounces McGough as Mac Gue—with a long u. My use of "magoo" as a domain name, therefore, promotes confusion about the correct pronunciation of our family name.

McGough Origins in Ireland


Maps of Ireland, administrative divisions of Ireland, civil and Catholic parishes of Ireland, with an emphasis on south Ulster

Origins of the Surname McGough

McGough, McGeough, McGeogh, Magough, Mageough, and Mageogh are forms of the same family name. The Gaelic origin is Mac Eochaidh.

Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea—Ballymageogh and Slievemageogh in County Down

Ballymageogh is a townland, and Slievemageogh is a mountain, in county Down. Irish scholars say that these names came from members of the Mhigh Eotach or Mac Eochy sept who migrated from county Monaghan to county Down between the years 1150 and 1200. Mhigh Eotach or Mac Eochy has been anglicized as McGeough and McGough. This page also contains my notes on McGoughs in county Down.

Genes and Genealogy—McGough Y-DNA

My Y-DNA matches (or is close) to the Y-DNA of Nial of the Nine Hostages, an Irish King.

A McGough—McMahon Connection?

The McGoughs may have been a sept of the McMahons of the territory of Mughdhorna in Airghialla—but I think the better evidence is that the McMahons and McGoughs were separate septs.


There is no relationship between the Welsh/Irish family name Gough and the Irish family name McGough. Some Irish McGoughs have dropped the Mc, but I know of no Welsh/Irish Gough who has added a Mc.

Goughs Born in Ireland and Listed in the 1850 Census of the United States


The marriage record or my great-grandfather, John McGough, shows his surname as McGeoy. This was probably a mistake by the priest. The surnames McGeoy, McGoey, and McGouey, originated in county Longford, and come from the same Gaelic origin as does McGough: Mac Eochaidh.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Counties of Ireland.

On this page, I list the 32 counties of Ireland and include references to the surname McGough where I have not created a separate page for that county. Where I have created a separate page for a county, I link to that page.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in Ireland in the 1820–30s and 1850–60s: By County, Parish, and Townland

On this page is a table of all the McGoughs in Ireland listed in the Tithe Applotment Books of the 1820s and 1830s and Griffith's Valuation of the 1850s and 1860s. More than five hundred McGough families are arranged by county, civil parish, and townland. In the tables, I list the spellings of the surname, McGeogh, McGeough, or McGough, as they appear in the records. This can be confusing because the surname of the same person, or parent and child, or brother and sister, may be spelled in two or more ways. In many McGough families in Ireland, McGeogh, McGeough and McGough were used interchangeably in the nineteenth century. In the table of McGough names, I have alphabetized the surnames and assigned each name a reference number.

There are in the table, for example, six Hugh McGoughs in the townland of Cortaghart and adjacent townlands in county Monaghan: Hugh McGeogh (218) in Cooltrim in 1829, Hugh McGeough (227) in Cortaghart in 1829; Hugh McGeough (240) in Drumgor in 1829; Hugh McGough (220) in Cooltrim in 1858; Hugh McGough (215) in Carrickaldragh in 1858; and Hugh McGough (232) in Cortaghart in 1858. These all may be the Hugh McGough shown on gravestone inscription #1 as having died in 1877 in my page of McGough and McGeough Gravestone Inscriptions in County Monaghan. More likely, the several names represent a father and son. They are separated in the table because the surnames McGeogh, McGeough, and McGough are alphabetized. The number in parenthesis after each name is the reference number in the table.

In the original version of the table, I did not include names from the Spinning Wheel Lists of 1796 because the McGeoughs named there cannot be identified by townland and because they had already been published by Ann McGeough Harney on her McGeough website as the Surname Index to the 1796 Flax Seed Premium Entitlement Lists. Later, I added to my table the names from this flax seed premium list—without a reference number in the left column of the table.

McGoughs, McGeoughs and McGeoghs in County Monaghan—Introduction

Hearth Money Rolls for County Monaghan: McGeogh, McGeough, and McGogh

Hearth Money Rolls for county Monaghan, Ireland, are available for 1663 and 1665. Our surname appears in these tax rolls as McGeogh, McGeough, and McGogh, but not as McGough.

Flax Growers of Ireland, 1796—County Monaghan—McGeoughs

There were 19 McGeoughs and 1 McGough listed in the 1796 flax seed growers list of county Monaghan.

McGough and McGeough Gravestone Inscriptions in County Monaghan

McGough gravestone inscriptions from several cemeteries in county Monaghan.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Aghnamullen

Using the table of McGoughs shown in townlands of Ireland by the Tithe Applotment Books and Griffith's Valuation as a starting point, I have assembled the townlands where McGoughs are found in the 1800s in the civil parish of Aghnamullen into clusters of contiguous townlands. I have added information about the nature of the land holdings and family members of the McGoughs. The McGoughs in each cluster are listed alphabetically. Information from the Tithe Applotment Books and Griffith's Valuation on the name of a landlord, the area of the land, and the amount of annual rental, is included. Some data on births, marriages, and deaths are also included. Under the subheading Moylemuck Enclave will be found the relatively few McGoughs in county Cavan.

Baptisms and Marriages in the Catholic Parish of Aughnamullen West

Baptisms and marriages in the records of the Catholic parish at Latton from 1841 to 1875, plus some notes from other sources of other baptisms in the parish .

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Ballybay

This page collects the McGough names in the 1800s in the relatively contiguous parts of the civil parish of Ballybay where the surname was concentrated.

Presbyterian Emigrations from Ulster to South Carolina; the Cahans Exodus from Ballybay to Abbeville in 1764

Emigrations from Ulster to America of segments of Presbyterian congregations occurred with some regularity between 1718 and 1775. These Presbyterians either followed their ministers or took them along. Identifying the churches in America that these emigrants formed or joined often helps identify the place in Ulster from which the emigrants came. This page discusses the Cahans exodus from Ballybay, county Monaghan, in 1764, and some similar movements of Presbyterians from Ulster to America in the second half of the eighteenth century.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Clontibret

This page collects the McGoughs in the 1800s in the civil parish of Clontibret.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Donaghmoyne and the Barony of Farney

This page collects McGoughs in the 1800s in the parishes that make up the barony of Farney, the southeastern part of county Monaghan. The civil parishes covered are: Donaghmoyne, Magheracloone, Magheross, Inniskeen, and Killanny. A brief history of the barony of Farney is included.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Muckno

This page collects McGoughs in the 1800s in the parish of Muckno. A brief history and a few geographic landmarks of the parish are included.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Barony of Trough

The barony of Trough includes the parishes of Errigal Keerogue and Donagh at the northern tip of county Monaghan.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Baronies of Dartree and Monaghan

The barony of Dartree consists of six civil parishes in county Monaghan: Clones, Killeevan, Drummully, Aghabog, Currin, and Ematris. The barony of Monaghan is made up of six civil parishes in county Monaghan: Tedavnet (Tydavnet), Tehallan, Drumsnat, Kilmore, Monaghan (Monaghan and Rackwallace), and Tullycorbet.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in County Antrim

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in County Armagh

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in County Louth

McGoughs in County Mayo

Are the McGoughs in county Mayo exiles from Ulster?

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in County Meath

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in County Tyrone

The page contains links to townland maps of most of the civil parishes in county Tyrone, and maps that show the location of each civil parish within the county. This is a good place to examine the relationship between counties, baronies, parishes, and townlands, in Ireland.

Coal Mining and Canal Building in County Tyrone in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Could Terence and Andrew McGough, coal laborers of St. Clair, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, have emigrated to the US from the coal-mining area of county Tyrone around Dungannon?

McGough, McGeough, McGeogh and McGue Immigrants to the United States. (Go to this section for an introduction and general references.)

Irish Immigrants, 1820–1845

Famine Immigrants, 1846–1851

Irish Immigrants, 1852–1865

Irish Immigrants, 1866–1880

Irish Immigrants, 1881–1891

Irish Immigrants, 1892–1900

McGoughs in the United States and Canada

Distribution of McGoughs in the United States

The number of McGoughs is relatively high in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. Most of these McGoughs, as well as some in Kentucky and Tennessee, are descendants of Robert and Sarah Matilda Carson McGough who emigrated from county Down about 1773. See A Scots-Irish John McGough and The Will of Robert McGough (1827) on this website.

McGoughs and McGaughs in Early American History

On this website, I have usually treated McGoughs and McGaughs as separate families, and covered only the McGoughs. In the records, however, McGoughs are sometimes referred to as McGaughs, and vice-versa. On this page, I make an exception to my general approach and cover the pioneer family of William and Ruth Hills McGaugh. William McGaugh was born in Ireland about 1726 and emigrated to Frederick,Virginia before 1756, when he enlisted in a Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel George Washington in the French and Indian War. The surname of a son, John McGaugh, was sometimes recorded as McGough in records of Davidson county, Tennessee, in the 1780s. The family moved from Tennessee to Ray county, Missouri, in the early 1800s, and their name occasionally appears as McGough in records there.

Hugh McGough, Soldier in the American Revolution

Hugh McGough served as a private in the Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot in 1776, and maintained their orderly book in 1777. He was probably a son of Miles and Elizabeth Spencer McGough, and did not survive the Revolutionary War—dying in Harford county, Maryland, in 1779.

McGoughs in Pre-Revolutionary America: Miles and Elizabeth Spencer McGough

Miles McGough came from Ireland to Baltimore county (later Harford county), Maryland, before 1770. He married Elizabeth Spencer, raised a family, and died in Harford county. Three of his sons and a daughter and son-in-law moved to Cambria county, Pennsylvania, in about 1803, and became the progenitors of many of the McGoughs who live there today. Some of his descendants moved on to Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

Timeline of McGoughs in Harford County, Maryland, 1750–1810

McGoughs Who Moved from Harford County, Maryland, to Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Families in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, Associated with McGoughs from Harford County, Maryland—Burke, Dempsey, Dimond, McConnell, McGuire, Plummer, Skelly

McGoughs in Pre-Revolutionary America: Robert and Sarah Matilda Carson McGough

Robert McGough came from county Down, Ireland, to Mecklenburg (near Charlotte), North Carolina, in 1773; with his wife, Sarah Matilda Carson McGough, and several children, all of whom were born Ireland. His sons moved to Abbeville, South Carolina, then to Georgia and Alabama, where many of his descendants live today. Descendants moved to Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, where many of them reside today.

A Scots-Irish John McGough—A Seattle Connection

Robert McGough was accompanied on his emigration from Ireland to North Carolina in 1773 by his son, John McGough. The grandson of that John McGough from county Down, Robert Carson McGough, moved to Seattle from Forsyth, Georgia, in 1903 or 1904, and died in Seattle in 1908 at the age of 77. On his move to Seattle, he was accompanied by two of his daughters, Maud McGough and Nellie McGough. In Seattle, they joined Robert's son, Thomas Hollis McGough, the brother of Maud and Nellie, who had had moved to Seattle in 1889. Another son, Robert Carson McGough Jr. and another daughter, May McGough Cato later joined the family in Seattle. Members of this McGough family occupied the same home in Seattle for over forty-seven years.

McGoughs in America before 1790: Arthur and Susan McGough

Arthur McGough came from Ireland, traditionally county Donegal, to New Castle county, Delaware, in 1786. He moved his family to Cambria county, Pennsylvania, before 1800. The family of Arthur McGough and Susan McGough was living near the families of four children of Miles McGough and Elizabeth Spencer in Cambria county, Pennsylvania, after 1803.

Inconsistent Census Reporting

McGough has been spelled as McGoff, Magough, Magoff, Goff, McGue, McGee, McKeough, and perhaps McGew and McGow, in United States censuses. The next several pages give a fairly complete listing of families named McGough and its possible variations in the United States censuses of 1790 through 1900.

McGoughs in the 1790 census of the United States

McGoughs in the 1800 census of the United States

McGoughs in the 1810 census of the United States

McGoughs in the 1820 census of the United States

McGoughs in the 1830 census of the United States

McGoughs in the 1840 census of the United States

McGoughs and McGues in the 1850 Census of the United States

McGoughs and McGues in the 1860 Census of the United States

McGoughs and McGues in the 1870 Census of the United States

African-American McGoughs in the 1870 Census

When they gained their freedom, African-Americans who had been slaves often chose the surnames of their former masters. I have tried to identify the masters for whom these McGoughs had worked in slavery.

McGoughs and McGues in the 1880 Census of the United States

McGoughs and McGues in the 1890 Veterans' Schedules and Other Census Substitutes

McGoughs and McGues in the 1900 Census of the United States (except Iowa, New York, and Pennsylvania)

McGoughs in Iowa in the 1900 Census of the United States and the 1915 State Census of Iowa

McGoughs in New York in the 1900 Census of the United States

McGoughs and McGues in the 1900 Census of the United States—Pennsylvania

McGoughs and McGeoughs in Rhode Island (a supplement to my census pages)

McGough, McGeough, and McGue Soldiers in the U.S. Civil War, 1861–1865

McGoughs and McGues in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania in the 1800s

My great-grandfather, John McGough, emigrated from county Monaghan to the United States, probably about 1851. He married Catherine Fitzpatrick near Pottsville in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, on May 20, 1855. They moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, probably in 1856. This page collects the tracks I have found of McGoughs in Schuylkill county.

St. Clair, Pennsylvania: Timeline and Bibliography

Miners' Journal: Excerpts 1855

Move of John and Catherine Fitzpatrick McGough from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, to Eau Claire, Wisconsin

My great-grandparents, John McGough and Catherine Fitzpatrick McGough, moved from an area near Pottsville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, to Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1855 or 1856. This page examines the routes and modes of travel that they may have used.

McGoughs and McGues in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1856–1906

John McGough, my great-grandfather, was the patriarch of the first of several McGough families in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Here is what I have learned about my family and other McGoughs in Eau Claire.

Michael McGough and Rosanna Halton of Lindsay, Ontario, Canada; Connections to Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Michael McGough was born in 1805 in the parish of Magheracloone, county Monaghan, south Ulster, Ireland. He married Rose Halton who was born in Ireland in 1813. They received assisted passage to Canada from the Shirley estate in Magheracloone and, in 1845, emigrated from Ireland to Lindsay, Ontario. They moved from Ireland to Canada with five children ranging in ages from 14 to 1. At least five more children were born in Ontario. Three of their children emigrated to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, making a circumstantial case that they were related to my great-grandfather, John McGough, who had moved to Eau Claire from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, ten years before any of them moved from Ontario to Eau Claire.

Bernard McGough and Catherine Kernaghan of Lindsay, Ontario, and Allamakee County, Iowa

Bernard McGough and his family moved from county Monaghan, Ireland, to Lindsay, Ontario, in 1833. Twelve years later, Bernard was followed by Michael McGough and Rose Halton McGough, who moved from county Monaghan to Lindsay, Ontario, in 1845. That Michael followed Bernard to the same place suggests that they were related. Their years of birth, Bernard in 1805–9, and Michael in 1805, indicates that they may have been brothers, or perhaps first cousins.

In 1852 Bernard McGough and his brother, Francis McGough, moved their families from Lindsay, Ontario, to Winnebago county, Illinois. In 1855 and 1856, respectively, they moved their families across and up the Mississippi River to Allamakee county, Iowa. My great-grandfather, John McGough, moved from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, to Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1855 or 1856. What may have brought him to the Mississippi Valley is the presence of the families of Bernard and Francis McGough in Allamakee county, Iowa; or John and Peter McGough in Jo Daviess county, Illinois; or both.

John and Peter McGough—Two Brothers in Jo Daviess County, Illinois

John and Peter McGough were brothers. John moved to Jo Daviess county, Illinois, no later than 1846. Peter may have accompanied him from Ireland, but Peter's family arrived in Jo Daviess county no earlier than 1847 and no later than 1850. Jo Daviess county is on the east bank of the Mississippi River and forms the northwest corner of Illinois. The county seat is the shipping port of Galena, the main source of supplies for Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the early 1850s.

My great-grandfather, John McGough, moved from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, to Eau Claire in 1855 or 1856. His probable route took him to Gsalena, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, then up the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Chippewa River in Wisconsin, and up the Chippewa to Eau Claire. What brought him to the Mississippi Valley may have been the presence of John and Peter McGough in Jo Daviess county, or the presence of the families of Bernard and Francis McGough about fifty miles up the Mississippi, on the opposite side of the river, in Allamakee county, Iowa; or both.

Included on this page is information I have collected on the many McGough families in Illinois from 1850 through 1900.

Owen McGough and Bridget Kennedy of Barron County, Wisconsin

Owen McGough (1816–June 8, 1886), born in Ireland, and Bridget Kennedy (1828 (?) –May 15, 1908), born in Canada, were married on November 1, 1842, at St. John the Baptist Church in Perth, Ontario, Canada. They moved from Ontario to Oak Grove Township in Barron county, Wisconsin, in 1871, with nine of their children. Barron county is one county removed from Eau Claire county to the north. Many of this family spelled their names McGeough. The principal town of Barron county is Rice Lake where my uncle, George Arthur McGough, lived for many years. My search for information about my great grandfather, John McGough of Eau Claire, unearthed much information about the Owen McGough family in neighboring Barron county.

McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in Canada in the Nineteenth Century

This is a collection of references on the Internet to McGoughs in Canada in the 1800s. Many of them moved on to the United States.

Irish and Scots History

Irish Kings

A table that lists the spellings of the names of the Milesian Irish high kings as they appear in Annals of the Four Masters.

Pre-Milesian Irish Kings

A table of the kings of the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha de Danann.

Scots Kings—Including Kings of Dal Riada who Reigned from Ireland

There are two tables: (1) Scots kings from Fergus Mor MacEarca to David I, whose reign marked the beginning of the end of Scots kings who were independent of England. (2) Earlier kings, or chiefs, of Dal Riada, including those who reigned from Ireland.

Kings of Ulster—to Colla da Chrioch

A table of the Kings of Ulster up to the conquest and division of Ulster by Colla da Chrioch in 331 A.D. When a king of all Ireland is part of the immediate pedigree of a king of Ulster, that over-king is included in this table with a cross reference to my table of Irish Kings.

Colla da Chrioch, First King of Oriel

Could the McGoughs be descended from Colla da Chrioch?

Kings of Ulidia

A continuation of the "Kings of Ulster—to Colla da Chrioch."

Kings and Lords of Dal Araide

A companion to the pages on kings of Ulidia and kings of the Ui Eathach Cobha (or Ui Echach Cobo) in county Down.


Airghialla was part of the kingdom of Ulster founded by the three Collas in the 4th century. The Airghialla was a federation of early tribes in Ulster. The territory of one of these tribes, the Mughdhorna, was occupied by many early McGoughs. This page is a collection of entries in the Irish Annals dealing with the lords of the Airghialla in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.


The ancient territory of the Mughdhorna covered not only county Monaghan, but much of county Meath and part of what is now county Louth. In this territory, there were several McGoughs when the Hearth Money Rolls were prepared in 1663 and 1665.

Ui Eathach Cobha in County Down

Ui Eathach Cobha is an ancient territory in modern counties Down and Armagh, corresponding to the modern baronies of Iveagh in county Down, and the small part of the diocese of Dromore that lies in county Armagh. The name Iveagh, and of the people occupying that territory, came from Eochaidh Cobha. Could he be one of the origins of Mac Eochaidh from which McGough is derived?

O'Clery's Book of Genealogies—Meic Eochada

The Genelach Meic Eochadha, which O'Clery calls Genealogy of MacGeogh, is the genealogy of the Mac Keough or Keogh family of the Hy-Many or Ui Maine, whose territory was primarily Magh Finn in the southern part of county Roscommon. They are descendants of Eochaidh O'Kelly—from whom they derived their surname. They are not directly related to our sept of McGoughs, but the process by which the surname Mac Keough and its variations was formed is instructive.

The Eoghanach and The Owenagh River in County Monaghan

There is an area in county Monaghan, roughly equivalent to the modern civil parish of Aghnamullen, that was known as the Eoghanach. The Owenagh River, which runs to the east from Lough Egish, formed the southern boundary of the Eoghanach, and also forms part of the historic boundary between the baronies of Cremorne and Farney. There has been a concentration of McGoughs in this area for the past several hundred years. Could there be a connection between the surname McGough and the names of the Eoghanach or Owenagh River?

Excerpts from Irish Annals—Ulidia, Ui Eathach Cobha, and Dal Araide

Excerpts from the Annals of the Four Masters (M) and the Annals of Ulster (U) that are helpful in determining the succession of kings and chiefs of Ulster up to 331 AD, in Ulidia, Ui Eathach Cobha, and Dal Araide.

McGough Coat of Arms

A cynic's view of coats of arms.

More Irish Names Derived from "Horse"

McGough and McGeough are derived from the Gaelic name Mac Eochaidh or Mag Eochadha. The stem of that name is thought to be eoch or each, Irish words for "horse." This page collects additional material on Irish words for "horse," and names derived from them.

The Famine

Internet sources of information on the Irish famine of 1846 to 1850 and the resulting emigration from Ireland.

Odds and Ends

Shane ballagh M'Geough, of County Monaghan, harper
McGough Springs, Texas
Father Donnelly's Diary
McGeoghs in Patrick Kavanagh's Autobiography
Geough Mor (Big McGeough)
Battle of Little Big Horn— Peter McGue, McGoff, McGough
"Silouette of MacGough, Full Figure"
Patrons of the Arts
McGoughs in the Public Records Office of the United Kingdom
Coal Miners
McGough Arena, Morris L. "Mac" McGough Freeway
McGough Construction Company of Minnesota
McGough's Tavern
McGough Road, Maple Park, Illinois
McGough Slough, Boulevard, Court, Drive, Mews, Road, Street, and Way
McGough Falls, New York
McGough Pond in Crenshaw County, Alabama
McGough's Flat in Australia
McGough Home in Bozeman, Montana
Fough East, Connemara
James House, Port Townsend, Washington
McGough & Andrewartha—Tasmania


Internet sources that I have found helpful.

Spelling of Irish Names

In these pages, I sometimes, use McGough to include McGeough, McGeogh, McGue, McGoff, Magough, and other variations of the name. I have tried, however, to show exactly the spelling used in other documents. The mysteries of computer word-processing, especially spell checking, and my own abundant absentmindedness, have surely precluded perfection in this effort.

Place names

The spelling of Irish place names can be a problem. Since most of the names are rooted in Gaelic, the English renditions vary. Where modern spelling of a name, such as that of a townland, has become standardized, I use the modern spelling rather than the name as it appears in the Tithe Applotment Books, Griffith's Valuation, or other older Irish records. Thus, the town of Ballytrain in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1835 becomes Bellatrain in modern maps and gazetteers. Some older county maps show the name as Ballytrean.

The name of the parish of Donaghmoyne in county Monaghan has been spelled several ways, for example: Donamaine, Donamoine, Donamyne, Donemaine, Donemayne, Donenaghmoyne (Latin), Donnemayne, Donymayne, Dunamine, and Dunnamine. See my page: McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Donaghmoyne and the Barony of Farney.

Good historical information that will help to decipher these web pages is in Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland (Volume Forty): Counties of South Ulster 1834–8, published in 1998 by The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queens University of Belfast. The Memoirs are descriptions written to accompany maps of a townland survey of Ireland commissioned by the House of Commons in 1824. Spellings in the Memoirs that were attempts to anglicize Irish names of townlands have been preserved by the editors. A comparison of the spellings of some of the townlands of the parish of Aghnamullen in 1835 by Lieutenant John Chaytor of the Royal Engineers, at pages 75 through 77 of the Memoirs, with the modern spellings is instructive. A comparison is made in the following table.

Modern Spelling Memoirs of Ireland Other Variations
Aghmakerr Aughamakerlin Aughmekeere (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 572)
Annahaia Annahaghey Annaghhaghey (Memoirs, page 71); Aghanaghy (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 574); Aghaniniminy (Rushe, pages 60, 98, 125, 232, 234); Aughaniniminy (Rush, page 134)
Anveyerg Annaghveyarig  
Cargaghdoo Cargaduff  
Corwillin Corvillen Corwilliam (Memoirs, page 72); Corwellin (1659 census, Shirley, page 557); Corvullin, (1640 Down Survey, Shirley page 575)
Cornacarrow Cornecarkaw  
Dooraa Dooragh  
Drumcanon Drumcannea Drumcannan (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 573)
Drumcreeghan Drumfreehan Drumcrean (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 573)
Drumcunnion Drumconien Drumcoonien, Drumconnen (Memoirs, pages 71, 73); Drumconnion (Hearth Money Rolls, Rushe, page 309); Drumconean (Rushe, page 146)
Drumgor Drumgarr  
Fairtahy Farlagh  
Garryduff Garrydoo  
Gragarnagh Gregarna  
Keenogbane Bane Keenabawn Keenogbane (Shirley, page 492); Keeoge (1659 census, Shirley, page 557); Kenoge (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 573)
Keenog Duff Keenaduff Keenogduff (Shirley, page 492)
Lattonfasky Lattenfaskey Littuifaskey (Memoirs, page 73)
Leagh Lay  
Lisnadarragh Lisnadarragh Lisnadonogh, Lisnadara (Memoirs, page 74)
Lurgachamlough Lurgahauria Lorgecumlagh (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 557); Lurgonhanlagh (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 572)
Moyle More Mullmore Moyle [More] (Shirley, page 494)
Sra Shragh Shradreenlea (Hearth Money Rolls, Rushe, page 309)
Tamlat Tamlaght  
Tullynamaira Tullynamarrow Tullenalmore (1659 census, Shirley, page 556); Tullynehemonagh (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 572)
Tullynanegish Tullinaneagish Tullinegish (1640 Down Survey, Shirley, page 572)

The references in the table to Rushe are to the History of Monaghan for Two Hundred Years: 1660–1860 by Denis Carolan Rushe. Evelyn Philip Shirley, in The History of County Monaghan, at pages 488 to 496, sets out the Gaelic roots of the names of the townlands, and interprets their meanings.

Modernizing the spelling of place names does not resolve all the confusion. The civil parish of Donacavey in county Tyrone is today sometimes spelled Donaghcavey. The civil parish of Aghnamullen is spelled with no u in the first syllable, while the Catholic parishes, east and west, are spelled with an extra u—Aughnamullen. The civil parish is spelled Inishkeen while the partly overlapping Catholic parish is spelled with a double n and without an h, Inniskeen. This parish is not to be confused with the parish of Enniskeen in county Cavan on the southwestern border of county Monaghan. The civil parish of Magheross is the Catholic parish of Machaire Ross. The civil parish of Tehallen is the Catholic parish of Tyholland. In the History of Monaghan for Two Hundred Years: 1660–1860, by Denis Carolan Rushe, Tehallen is indexed under these additional names: Tehollan, Tyhallan, and Tyhollan. The civil parish of Ballybay does not exist as a separate Catholic parish and is the southern half of the Catholic parish of Tullycorbet.

More confusion is caused by a tendency to spell Irish names phonetically. The official spelling of both the civil and Catholic parishes is Donaghmoyne. Ann McGeough Harney, in her excellent web pages on McGeough and County Monaghan, likes to spell Donaghmoyne phonetically: Dunnamine. She is unapologetic about it. She is in good company. The same spelling is used in the web page: Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher, 1836. Other older sources use Dunamine, without the double n. See my page: McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Donaghmoyne and the Barony of Farney. Evelyn Philip Shirley, in The History of County Monaghan, at page 357, describes the engravings on silver plate belonging to the parish of Donaghmoyne. Of the five inscribed pieces, only a silver cup and a silver plate, donated as a set in 1729, bear the same spelling of the name of the parish, and that is Donaghmain. The other spellings are: Donemaine, Donamaine, and Donamoine.

Edward MacLysaght, in his Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century (Irish Academic Press, paperback edition, 1979), at page 118, points out that in the 1600s, a law (17/18 Ch.II., c.2) was enacted that required that new names of places that are "like English" be substituted for the old Gaelic names of places in grants of land by patent, or if a person's English-style name in such a document was accompanied by "an Irish alias." The new English-style names were to be the only ones used officially thereafter. Thus, "it became necessary for non-Irish speakers, usually unfamiliar with the names, to say nothing of the language of the country, to record the names of Irish people and places." MacLysaght's book is both entertaining and erudite.

Family Names

MacLysaght, in his book just cited, talks about the problem of English clerks trying to write Irish names:

"My own name is a very good example of the metamorphosis which took place. Thus in sixteenth century and some later documents it appears as McGilleseaghtie, McGillysaghta, McGillysaghtee, to mention only three of many variants, all approximating quite closely to the original Gaelic form. At the beginning of the seventeenth century we see the process of abbreviation and simplification taking place and we find the forms McGillisacht, McLisaght, Gillisaght, and so on, while not infrequently in the transition period alternatives are given, as Lisagh alias McGillisagh. Probably few Gaelic names presented more difficulty to English ears. ...

"In the records and documents in English which I have examined over a number of years, I have come across no less than thirty-eight variants of the name McLysaght. While most of these are due to the unfamiliarity of law-clerks and copyists with Irish names, some are simply the result of carelessness, as for example when it appears spelt in three different ways in the same document." (pages 118–9).

Substantially the same process went on with the Gaelic name Mac Eochadha or Mag Eochy which became Magoghy, Magough, and ultimately McGough, McGeogh, McGeough, McGue, McGoff, and their many variants, and sometimes Gough, Goff and Smith. Such variations of spelling have been used since the Gaelic name Mag Eochadha was first translated into English. Torlogh McGorke, listed in the Hearth Money Rolls of 1663 in the townland of Elvey in the parish of Errigal Trough, county Monaghan, became Torlogh McGeogh in the 1665 listing for the same townland. Dunsleve McGorky in the 1663 listing for the townland of Glasmullagh in the parish of Errigal Trough became Dunsleve McGeough in the 1665 listing. The history of the name is discussed in more detail in my pages Origin of the Surname McGough and in Spelling of McGough.

The most labor-intensive page on this site is the page that lists all the McGoughs in Ireland shown by the Tithe Applotment Books and Griffith's Valuation. That page explains my decision to include in the table the surnames Mageogh, McGeo, McGeoghey, McGeugh, McGoagh, McGogh, McGoghey, McGoughy, and McGu; but not McGauch, McGeagh, McGew (a close call), McGohy, McGoughty, McGoruphy, or McGuy, among dozens of other similar names. See McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in Ireland in the 1820–30s and 1850–60s: By County, Parish, and Townland. Other related names that have become separately established and are not included in my all-Ireland table are the subject of separate web pages; for example, McGeoy/McGoey/McGouey and Gough/Goff. For a discussion of many other related names, see Origins of the Surname McGough.

Inconsistencies in the spelling of our family name are not restricted to Ireland. Naturalization records mistakenly show my great-grandfather's name as John McGrough. The record of his marriage lists him as John McGeoy. The 1860 federal census of Wisconsin shows him as John McGue. Attempts at a phonetic spelling of the name are endemic in census returns, and there was no agreement on how the name should be pronounced. Census returns for the town of Canandaigua, New York, for example, spell the surname of the family of David McGough as McGoff in 1850, McGough in 1855, Magough in 1860, McGough in 1865, and McGoff in 1870. Census returns for the town of Milo, New York, spell the surname of the family of Patrick McGough as McGough in 1855, 1860 and 1865, but as Goff in 1870, and Magoff in 1875. See my page: Inconsistent Census Reporting.

Thank You to Two Nancy McG[e]oughs

For a gold mine of information on on the history of County Monaghan and the McGeough/McGough names, go to the web pages created by Ann Harney (nee Nancy McGeough). Ann has contributed much knowledge to these documents and knowing that she will read these pages has caused me to be extra careful in what I say. Thanks Nancy.

Another Nancy McGough, our daughter, has spent many hours trying to teach me HTML, Dreamweaver, Paint Shop Pro, and other mysteries of computer software. Much of her tutoring has been done by email and long distance phone between London and Seattle in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks Nancy.

McGough Miscellanea—Random Ramblings, Rumblings, and Ruminations
Updated November 24, 2014  
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