Recorded as the Celtic and Manx McGynnowar, Maginnoire, Magenor, MacGaynor and the popular Gainor, Gaynor, Gaenor and Guerin, as well as the Gaelic O' Gerane, this is a surname of very mixed origins. It probably for most name holders derives from the pre 10th century surname Mag Fhionnbhairr, meaning the son of Finbar. Finbar is from the Gaelic "fionn" meaning fair and "barr", a head, and may well have been an early sardonic nickname for a Norse Viking, as these people conquered much of Ireland in the 10th century. The name was also recorded in Wales as "Gaenor", a short form of Gwenhwyfar, or Gwinevere the wife of the fabled King Arthur. Particularly in the USA, Gaenor has become confused with Gainor and Gaynor. In Ireland the clan originated from the west side of Lough Gowna in County Longford, and Finbar O' Geradhain was the lord of the region in the 11th century, and probably the ancestor of the clan. Over the centuries the surname has largely simplified in spelling, although was still recorded s O' Geradhain in Petty's Census of Ireland in 1659. By the 18th century the spelling in most registers was as Gaynor or Guerin. However a problem exists with the latter spelling as a number of French Huguenots called Guerin were given lands in the region at this time. Many of the Gaynor's emigrated during the Great Famine of 1846 - 1848. The first so recorded being George Gaynor who left for New York on the ship "Java of Liverpool" on April 27th 1846.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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