Kenan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Kenan is O Cianain.

Early Origins of the Kenan family

The surname Kenan was first found in County Fermanagh (Irish: Fear Manach) in the southwestern part of Northern Ireland, Province of Ulster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Kenan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kenan research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1600 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Kenan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kenan Spelling Variations

Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Kenan revealed many variations, including Keenan, O'Keenan and others.

Early Notables of the Kenan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kenan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Kenan migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Kenan family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Kenan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Kenan, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [1]
Kenan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Kenan, aged 50, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Michael Kenan, who landed in Mobile County, Ala in 1836 [1]
  • Thomas Kenan, aged 16, who landed in New York in 1854 [1]
  • Margaret S Kenan, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1854 [1]
  • Martin Kenan, aged 14, who arrived in New York in 1854 [1]

New Zealand Kenan 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:

Kenan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Peter Kenan, aged 24, a farm labourer, who arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1875 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kenan (post 1700) +

  • Randall Kenan (1963-2020), American author from Brooklyn, New York
  • Kenan Evren (1917-2015), Turkish military officer, 7th President of Turkey (1980-1989), Chief of the General Staff (1978-1983)

RMS Lusitania
  • Dr. Owen Hill Kenan, American 1st Class Passenger from Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking [3]

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  3. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook