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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The original Gaelic form of McKenna was Mac Cionaoith.

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The surname McKenna was first found in County Monaghan (Irish: Muineachán) located in the Northern part of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Ulster, at Truagh where they were known as the Lords of Truagh.

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McKenna family name. Variations found include MacKenna, MacKennagh, MacKenney, MacKenny, MacKinna, MacKinnie and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKenna research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1544 is included under the topic Early McKenna History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name McKenna:

McKenna Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward McKenna, who landed in America in 1810
  • Bridget McKenna, aged 8, landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • John McKenna, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834
  • Nancy McKenna, aged 10, landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • Peter McKenna, aged 11, arrived in New York, NY in 1834


McKenna Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John McKenna, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Mary McKenna, aged 35, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Rose McKenna, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Mary Ann McKenna, aged 5, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Jane McKenna, aged 3, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast


McKenna Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas McKenna, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Peter McKenna arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • George McKenna arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Ashburton" in 1850
  • Catherine McKenna, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on October 4, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Thomas McKenna, aged 34, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar"


McKenna Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Rose McKenna arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ernestina" in 1865
  • Isabella McKenna arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ernestina" in 1865
  • Catherine McKenna, aged 19, a servant, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Jubilee" in 1873
  • Michael McKenna, aged 23, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878
  • Owen McKenna arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cape Finisterre" in 1879

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  • Mike McKenna (b. 1983), American professional NHL ice hockey goaltender
  • Malcolm Carnegie McKenna (1930-2008), American paleontologist
  • Joseph McKenna (1843-1926), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Mr. Bernard Mckenna (d. 1915), Irish Trimmer from Castlebellingham, Louth, Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Patrick Mckenna, Irish Fireman from Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Catherine McKenna, Canadian federal politician, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (2015-)
  • Mr. John Mckenna (d. 1915), English Trimmer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Frank Mckenna, English Trimmer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Guy Lindsay McKenna (b. 1969), Australian rules football coach and former player
  • Stephen McKenna (b. 1985), Scottish football midfielder

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  • The MacKennas of Troagh by C. Eugene Swezey.
  • The American Descendants of James McCourt, John McKenny, Matthew Young and Allied Families by Martha F. McCourt.
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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  11. ...

The McKenna Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKenna 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 13 April 2016 at 16:20.

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