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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The original Gaelic form of McKenna was Mac Cionaoith.

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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.

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.


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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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  • Joseph McKenna (1843-1926), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Malcolm Carnegie McKenna (1930-2008), American paleontologist
  • Mike McKenna (b. 1983), American professional NHL ice hockey goaltender
  • Mr. Patrick Mckenna, Irish Fireman from Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Bernard Mckenna (d. 1915), Irish Trimmer from Castlebellingham, Louth, Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Francis Joseph "Frank" McKenna (b. 1948), Canadian businessman, Deputy Chairman of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Ambassador to the United States from 2005 to 2006 and Premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997
  • Reginald McKenna (1863-1943), British banker and Liberal politician, Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Kevin James McKenna (b. 1980), Canadian professional soccer player
  • Peter McKenna (b. 1946), Australian rules footballer
  • Sean Barry McKenna (b. 1987), Scottish football striker

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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. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  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 17 April 2015 at 15:08.

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