The surname of McBRIDE was derived from the Gaelic McBryde - a name meaning 'the son of the servant of St. BRIGIT'. The name BRIGIT is of uncertain origin, but may mean 'Exhalted'; it probably originally denoted a pagan fire-goddess, many of whose attributes have became attached to the historical figure of St. BRIGIT of Kildare (453-523) founder of the first Irish convent. The families descend from the County Donegal sept Mac Giolla Brighide, whose name was anglicized to McGilbride, then Kilbride, which survived in Connacht, but is now found in various parts of Ireland. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames; they came into being fairly generally by the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. Early records of the name mention Cristus McBryd documented in 1329 in Ireland. Maud McBride (1865-1953) was the Irish nationalist, the daughter of an English colonel. She became an agitator for the cause of Irish independence, and edited a nationalist newspaper 'L'Lirland Libre' in Paris. W.B.Yeats dedicated poems to her. Her son Sean was foreign minister of the Irish Republic from 1948 until 1951. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
Arms registered to J.D.McBride D.C.L. Principal of Magdalen House, Oxford.
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