Fhionnaile — this is the standard modern spelling in
this and the older form are in current use. These both derive from
the earlier (pre-1500 AD) obsolete Irish Gaelic forms of Mag Findgail,
Mag Findgaile and Mag Findgoil.
surname derives from the very old Irish words fionn meaning
‘fair haired’ and gal meaning ‘valour’.
The full meaning of the surname is therefore ‘son of the fair
haired valorous one’. The Gaelic ending gal is usually
interpreted in a ‘warrior sence’. The originator of
the McGinleys (whoever he may have been), most likely was a fearless
Irish surnames usually start with Ó or Mac.
In our surname, Mag is an occasional variant of Mac
that is found with surnames following with an aspirated/silent 'F'
or a vowel. The letter F is silent (as is the last G in the older
Gaelic spelling). The pronunciation for the Irish form is Magunaluh
or Maginaluh (both said quickly). The Mag-surname forms
are predominantly found in Ulster (Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Derry,
Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone). Historically,
in the northern half of Ireland, there has been a tendancy to soften
the hard sound of the letter ‘c’ in Mac allowing
the variant Mag to develop. Mag-surnames can be
found in some parts of north Connacht that are close to Ulster (or
had large Ulster settlement after the 1600's) such as Leitrim, Mayo,
Roscommon and Sligo. Mag-surnames are very rare in other
parts of Ireland and do not occur at all in Gaelic Scotland.