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

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

The original Gaelic form of Kenna was Mac Cionaoith.

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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 Kenna were encountered in the archives: 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 Kenna research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the year 1544 is included under the topic Early Kenna History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Kenna:

Kenna Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • A R Kenna, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1813
  • Patrick Kenna, aged 40, arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Hugh Kenna, aged 30, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1834
  • Edward Martin Kenna, who arrived in Mississippi in 1840
  • Edward Kenna, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844


Kenna Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Emma Kenna, aged 8, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Providence" from Cork
  • Michael Kenna, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin
  • Margaret Kenna, aged 19, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin
  • Matthew Kenna, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1834

Kenna Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Kenna, aged 28, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"

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  • Michael Kenna (1857-1946), Chicago politician
  • John E. Kenna (1848-1893), West Virginia politician
  • Doug Kenna (b. 1924), American football player
  • Jeff Kenna (b. 1970), Irish footballer
  • Jack Kenna (b. 1932), Gaelic footballer
  • Conor Kenna (b. 1984), Irish footballer
  • Colin Kenna (b. 1976), Irish boxer
  • Peter Kenna (1930-1987), Australian playwright and radio actor
  • Paul Aloysius Kenna (1862-1915), English Brigadier General and recipient of Victoria Cross
  • Michael Kenna (b. 1953), British photographer

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  1. 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).
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  6. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. 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).
  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 Kenna Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kenna 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 12 July 2015 at 02:45.

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