Start your family tree now Is your surname McCauley?
There are already 170 users and over 5,000 genealogy profiles with the McCauley surname on Geni. Explore McCauley genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

McCauley Genealogy and McCauley Family History Information

‹ Back to Surnames Index

Create your Family Tree.
Discover your Family History.

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!
view all


About the McCauley surname


McCauley (or MacCauley) is an ancient Gaelic surname that can have either Irish or Scottish origins.

There are a couple of different origins of the name. One is from the old Gaelic surname Mac Amhalghaidh which first emerged before the 9th century. The ‘Mac’ prefix means ‘Son of’ and Amhalghaidh was a personal name. The meaning of the name Amhalghaidh is unclear but some historians believe it meant ‘heir to the festering one.

So the name would have meant ‘son of the heir to the festering one’. The ancient Irish clans used to take their name from their chief or leader so the MacAuleys would have been descendants of a chief who held long grudges against his enemies.

Another theory is that Amhalghaidh meant ‘spear warrior’. So the chief of the clan would have been a fighting man who protected the tribe.

Another origin of MacAuley is the Gaelic name Aleifr, or Olaf. This name originated in the Hebrides islands off the North West coast of Scotland. The name Aleifr literally meant ‘leaving God’. It is from the Vikings, who controlled the Hebrides for many years.

The name became popular in Scotland and many Scots took the name to Ireland, particularly the north. Most of the MacAuleys in Ulster are descended from Scottish settlers.

The MacAuley clans lost the majority of their land and power in the 1600s following the Plantation of Ulster, the Elizabethan conquest and later the Battle of the Boyne.

Notable family members

  • Cawley, Tucker American writer. Co-wrote 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. Won Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
  • Hathaway, Kathleen (née McCauley) Actress and producer.
  • McAuley, Catherine Devoted her life to God and founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831.
  • McAuley, Matt American musician. Bass layer for electro rock band A.R.E. Weapons.
  • McCauley, Barry (1950-2001) American operatic tenor. Won 1980 Richard Tucker Award.
  • McCauley, Charles Stewart (1793-1869) American naval officer, 1812 war.
  • McCauley, Darren (1991- ) Irish footballer.
  • McCauley, Debbie (1972- ) Award-winning writer for children Read NZ Biography.
  • McCauley, Dennis (1985- ) American professional ice hockey player.
  • McCauley, Gary Francis (1940- ) Liberal party member, Canadian House of Commons.
  • McCauley, Gordon (1972- ) New Zealand five-time road cycling champion, 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist.
  • McCauley, James Wayne (1900-1958) American Commanding General, 32nd Air Division.
  • McCauley, Joe (1939-1968) Philadelphia radio personality "The Morning Mayor". Father of actress Kathleen McCauley, grandfather of actress Anne Hathaway.
  • McCauley, John Patrick Joseph (1899-1989) Senior Royal Australian Air Force commander.
  • McCauley, Johnny (1925-2012) Irish singer-songwriter.
  • McCauley, Patrick F (1870-1917) American Major League Baseball player.
  • McCauley, Sue (1941- ) Fiction writer, scriptwriter and journalist Read NZ Biography.
  • Parks, Rosa Louise (née McCauley) (1913-2005) American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.

Migration of the McCauley family to the New World and Oceana

McCauley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

McCauley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • McCauley, Andrew, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Melbourne"
  • McCauley, Thomas, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"

McCauley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • McCauley, Henry, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Robert Burns" in 1834
  • McCauley, William, aged 28, a stonecutter, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Maria" from Belfast, Ireland

McCauley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • McCauley, Alexander, who arrived in South Carolina in 1772

McCauley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • McCauley, James, aged 46, who landed in Louisiana in 1812
  • McCauley, Jane, aged 55, who arrived in America in 1822
  • McCauley, John, who landed in Maryland in 1821
  • McCauley, Joseph, aged 35, who arrived in America in 1822
  • McCauley, Mary, aged 26, who arrived in America in 1822

other versions of this surname