The surname Keenum originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."
Early Origins of the Keenum family
The surname Keenum was first found in County Londonderry
(Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster
. At one time, the areas was named O'Cahan Country.
Early History of the Keenum family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keenum research.Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1196, 1617, 1641, 1644 and 1819 are included under the topic Early Keenum History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Keenum Spelling Variations
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations
of the surname Keenum that are preserved in archival documents are Keane, Kane, Kayne, Keaney, Keny, Keyne, O'Kane, O'Keane, O'Cahan, Cahan, Kean, O'Cain, McCloskey, McCluskey, McClaskey and many more.
Early Notables of the Keenum family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family at this time was Ruaidri Dall Ó Catháin ( fl.
late 16th/early 17th century), an Irish harper and composer; and Echlin O'Kane, one of the most famous of all Irish Harpists. Manus O'Cahan's Regiment of Foot was a body of soldiers, many of who had fought in Europe... Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keenum Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Keenum family to the New World and Oceana
left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families
suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia
or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence
. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine
of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Keenum name: Charles Kane settled in New London Conn. in 1811 with his family; Charles, David, Francis, Henry, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Kane all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870.
Contemporary Notables of the name Keenum (post 1700)
- Rhonda Newman Keenum (b. 1961), American lobbyist, Director of the Office of Public Liaison (2005–2007)
- Mark E. Keenum, American academic, President of Mississippi State University (2009-)
- Casey Austin "Case" Keenum (b. 1988), American football quarterback for the Denver Broncos
The Keenum 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: Felis demulcta mitis
Motto Translation: A stroked cat is gentle.