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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Keenan family come from? What is the Irish Keenan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Keenan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Keenan family history?

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Keenan is O Cianain.


The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Keenan were encountered in the archives: Keenan, O'Keenan and others.

First found in County Fermanagh (Irish: Fear Manach) in the southwestern part of Northern Ireland, Province of Ulster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keenan research. Another 241 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1600 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Keenan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Keenan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Keenan name:

Keenan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Lawrence Keenan settled in Maryland in 1776

Keenan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Mary Keenan, aged 24, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Dennis Keenan, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Charles Keenan, aged 26, arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Michael Keenan, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Patrick Keenan, aged 31, landed in New York in 1812


  • Paul Keenan (1955-1986), American actor, best remembered for his long-time role on the television daytime serial 'Days of our Lives'
  • Frank Keenan (1858-1929), American dominant figure on stage, and a screen actor and director during the silent film era
  • Brian Edmund Peter Keenan (1943-1985), American musician, drummer for The Chambers Brothers
  • Barbara Milano Keenan (b. 1950), American judge on United States Court of Appeals
  • Don C. Keenan (b. 1951), American trial lawyer and author, the head partner in the Keenan Law Firm, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Edward L. Keenan (b. 1935), Andrew W. Mellon professor emeritus of history at Harvard University
  • Harry George Keenan (1867-1944), American silent film actor who starred in 45 silent films
  • Joe Keenan (b. 1958), American five-time Primetime Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, television producer and novelist, best known for his work on the television sitcom "Frasier"
  • John Keenan (1840-1906), United States Army soldier, recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western United States
  • Maynard James Keenan (b. 1964), born James Herbert Keenan, an American rock singer, songwriter, musician and record producer



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  1. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  2. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  4. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  10. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  11. ...

The Keenan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keenan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 October 2014 at 07:21.

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