Show ContentsKarney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Karney has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. Generally, the original Gaelic form of the name Karney is said to be O Cearnaigh, from the word "cearnach," which means "victorious." However, in some instances, especially the roots of the present day spelling of Kearney, the surname derives from the Gaelic "O Catharnaigh," meaning "warlike."

Early Origins of the Karney family

The surname Karney was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from ancient times and were a branch of the Ui Fiachrach.

The MacCarney (McCarney) variant is "Mac Cearnaigh and the family was originally seated at Ballymacarney, Co. Meath. According to records from the sixteenth century to the present day it must be regarded as belonging to Ulster: in the Fiants we find a MacCarney among the followers of Rory O'Donnell; in the Hearth Money Rolls of the l660's the name appears frequently in Cos. Monaghan and Armagh; and comparatively recent sources indicate that they are still mainly located in that part of Ulster. It would appear, however, that the prefix Mac has been widely dropped, the name being now registered as Carney or Kearney. Probably the most remarkable person of this name was Susan MacKarney who died in Dublin in 1751 reputedly 120 years of age. She was a beggarwoman who had £250 secreted in the mattress of her death bed." [1]

Early History of the Karney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Karney research. Another 230 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1199, 1721, 1529, 1539 and 1543 are included under the topic Early Karney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Karney Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Karney family name include Carney, Carnie, McCarney, MacCarney, O'Carney, Kearney and many more.

Early Notables of the Karney family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Carney of Cashel and John Kearney of Fethard, prominent in court and legal circles in England. In Scotland, "Patrick Makcarny was one of...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Karney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Karney migration to the United States +

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 Karney:

Karney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Karney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [2]
  • Denis Karney, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [2]
  • Edward Karney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [2]
  • Roger Karney, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [2]
  • Philip Karney, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Karney migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Karney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Karney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Simon Karney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Margaret Sullivan Karney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1835

Australia Karney migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Karney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Karney, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Mr. Thomas Karney who was convicted in Coventry, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. James Karney, (b. 1805), aged 30, Irish solider from County Meath who was convicted in Colombo, Sri Lanka for 7 years for wounding with intent, transported aboard the "Clorinda" on 23rd February 1835, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Walter Karney, aged 35, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

New Zealand Karney migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Karney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Margaret Karney, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ernestina" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name Karney (post 1700) +

  • Benjamin Karney (b. 1968), American Professor of Social Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Michael John Mario Karney (b. 1981), former American NFL football fullback who played from 2004 to 2010
  • Patrick Karney, Irish-born, English Labour Party local councillor in the city of Manchester
  • Andrew Karney FIET, FRSA (b. 1942), British electrical engineer, businessman and company director
  • The Rt Revd Arthur Baillie Lumsdaine Karney (1874-1963), English Church of England chaplain, the first Bishop of Johannesburg (1922-1933), Bishop of Southampton from 1933 to 1943
  • John Karney, Australian rules footballer who played with West Torrens in the SAFL from 1919 to 1928
  • Robyn Karney, British film writer and former critic for the Empire film magazine

The Karney Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sustine et abstine
Motto Translation: Sustain and abstain.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th February 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook