I've been researching my surname McGinley which all the sources I've found agree means son of Fhionngal, composed of the elements fionn 'fair' and gal 'valour'. However whenever you look up the first name Fhionngal or Fingal, including on this site, the 'gal' element is cited as coming from the Gaelic for stranger, hence it means 'fair stranger'. Even my names bible, the Oxford Names Companion, contradicts itself between the surname and the first name, citing exactly the same spelling of Fhionngal in both entries but with different meanings.
So is there a correct answer? or if as I suspect it can mean both equally, why do most sources give one meaning as definite instead of saying this?
This message was edited by the author on February 10, 2007 at 1:22:56 PM