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

Where did the Irish Kennedy family come from? What is the Irish Kennedy family crest and coat of arms? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kennedy family history?

The spelling and overall form of Irish names tend to vary widely over time. The original Gaelic form of the name Kennedy is O'Cinneide, which is derived from the words "ceann," which means "head," and "éidigh," which means "helmet."


One name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer because one must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Kennedy family name include Kennedy, Minagh, Kennady, O'Kennedy and others.

First found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster. This distinguished Irish family were descended from Kennedy, nephew of King Brian Boru, Ireland's great Warrior King who fell in the battle of Clontarf in the year 1014.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kennedy research. Another 133 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1615 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Kennedy History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 109 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kennedy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of Kennedy or one of its variants:

Kennedy Settlers in the 17th Century

  • Catherine Kennedy, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • David Kennedy, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Kennedy Settlers in the 18th Century

  • Margaret Kennedy, who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • David Kennedy, who arrived in Boston in 1737
  • Janette Kennedy, who landed in Connecticut in 1741
  • Darby Kennedy, who arrived in America in 1742
  • Matthew Kennedy, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1747

Kennedy Settlers in the 19th Century

  • Peter Kennedy, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1802
  • Donald Kennedy, aged 45, landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1803
  • Donald Kennedy, aged 45, a farmer, arrived in Pictou, N.S. aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • Margaret Kennedy, aged 35, arrived in Pictou, N.S. aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • Janet Kennedy, aged 10, arrived in Pictou, N.S. aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803


  • Mr. John Joseph Kennedy, aged 24, Irish Third Class passenger from Watergate, Limerick who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 15
  • Alison Louise Kennedy (b. 1965), Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction
  • Adam Kennedy (b. 1976), Major League Baseball player
  • Sir Alexander Kennedy FRS, FRgs (1847-1928), leading British civil and electrical engineer and academic
  • Anthony McLeod Kennedy (b. 1936), US Supreme Court Associate Justice
  • Arthur Kennedy (1914-1990), American stage and film actor
  • Edgar Livingston Kennedy (1890-1948), American comedic film actor
  • Robert F Kennedy (1925-1968), American politician, brother of John F. Kennedy
  • George Harris Kennedy Jr. (b. 1925), American actor who has appeared in over 200 film and television productions
  • Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932-2009), American politician, U.S. Senator and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom



  • Alford-Kennedy Family History by Eileen Alford.
  • Ancestors and Kin by Mary Kennedy Reynolds.

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  1. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  3. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  6. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The Kennedy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kennedy 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 18 September 2014 at 17:03.

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