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McQuaid - The Name

K Hanks and Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames, 1988:  The entry for McQuaid reads:  "Irish:  Anglicized form of Gael[ic] MacUaid, patr[onymic] from a Gael[ic] form of the given name Wat."

K Durning, The Scotch-Irish, 1991:  The title of this book is misleading; it is actually a compilation of names and their associated locations in both Scotland and Ireland.  The entry for our name indicates:  McQuade, Catholic, Irish, County of Tyrone, Barony of Dungannon, Parish of Agahloo.  The location given is adjacent to the northern tip of County Monaghan.

K Grehan, The Dictionary of Irish Family Names, 1997:  Grehan's take on the family name is as follows:  "MacQuade, Mac Uaid, MacQuaid, MacQuoid, MacWade.  The origin of this ancient surname is obscure, but is thought to have come from MacUaid, meaning son of Wat - pet name for Walter.  It has gone through a number of variations, including MacQuaid, MacQuoid and MacWade.  It is fairly numerous throughout Ireland, particularly in Ulster, where its original territory was County Monaghan and, later, Fermanagh and Offaly."

What About McQuoid?

McQuoid is an uncommon and elusive name.  Most sources indicate that McQuoid is a variation of McQuaid, or vice versa.  However, my research points toward the conclusion that McQuoid is a separate name, not related to McQuaid except in those cases where careless spelling or illegible writing has caused the transformation. 

McQuoid has been identified by some sources as a sept of Clan McKay.  One form of the Gaelic version of McKay is MacAoidh so one could, with some justification, say that McQuoid is the visually anglicized version of
MacAoidh.  "Visually" (as opposed to "verbally") must be emphasized because the Gaelic MacAoidh was actually pronounced something like McGee.

In the few instances that I have encountered the McQuoid name in 17th and 18th century Irish history, it has been associated with Ulster counties north of Monaghan and with Anglo/Scot plantation families (the Orr family, for example).  In American, the McQuoid name is usually associated with English families and with the nebulous, illusory term "Scotch-Irish."

So, I am willing to concede that McQuoid may be an Ulster Scot name, perhaps related to McKay.  However, I am not willing to bring McQuaid under the McKay or Ulster Scot umbrella.  McQuaid is an old-Irish name, not a Scottish name and certainly not a mythical "Scotch-Irish" name.

To show how open-minded I am, I will include the following mind-bending pronouncement from an article entitled "Foy and Allied Lines" from a 1931 issue of the Americana Journal:

MacKay-MacQuaid-McQuaid Arms - Argent, three five-pointed stars azure, in chief a sinister hand couped at the wrist, gules.
The family name McQuaid, MacQuaid, or MacQuade, is from the old Scottish Gaelic Aed, later still Aod, later aspirated Aodh, in English Iye, the founder of the clan MacKay, of County Sutherland, in northernmost Scotland, one of the largest Highland clans, in a recent enumeration, twenty-seven thousand persons.  Only a small group of the clan retains the ancient form of the name which inserts an i in the genitive case, which must follow the prefix Mac; thus MacAoid, Anglicized as MacQuaid, MacQuead, MacQuoid; the aspirated MacAoidh, which is MacKay in the north, and MacKee in Argyle, being almost universal. The clan MacKay, including MacQuaid, had a badge, the broom plant, worn in the bonnet, or cap, for the same purpose as the feudal knights wore a coat-of-arms, namely, for family identification, and MacKay was created baron Reay in 1627.  The coat-of-arms described above is the one given in "The Book of Mac-Kay."  The clan Aid, whose genealogy is given in the Advocate's Library MSS. of 1450, and an offshoot of the early founders of clan