This sept of GIVNEY was located in the eastern part of the diocese of Kilmore, especially county Cavan, where the variants MacAVINUE and MacEVINNEY are also found. In the Annals of Loch Ce it appears as Mac DHUIBHNE, in the person of Mathew MacGIVNEY, Bishop of Kilmore from 1286 to 1307, who, is stated died in the year 1314. The Four Masters give his name as MAGUIBHNE; later two other ecclesiastics are mentioned as Mac DHUIBJNE, John, arch-deacon of Drumlahan, 1343 and Farsithe (died. 1464) as Bishop of Kilmore. As MacAVYNNY the name is given in the 'census of 1659 as a principal Irish name in County Fermanagh. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. A notable member of the sept was Michael Joseph MacGIVNEY (1852-1890) of Connecticut, the son of an Irish exile, who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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