Kenealy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

All Irish surnames have a long, ancient Gaelic history behind them. The original Gaelic form of the name Kenealy is O Cinnfhaolaidh, which is derived from "ceann," which means "head," and "faol," which means "wolf."

Early Origins of the Kenealy family

The surname Kenealy was first found in Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat as chiefs in the barony of Connello, from olden times up to the 12th century when they were dispersed by the Anglo Norman invasion by Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke in 1172.

Early History of the Kenealy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kenealy research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1800 is included under the topic Early Kenealy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kenealy Spelling Variations

Because early scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded, a person could have many various spellings of his name.Many different spelling variations of the surname Kenealy were found in the archives researched. These included Kinneally, Kinealy, Kinnelly, Kinnelley, Kinneley, Kinelly, Kinelley, Kenealy, O'Kinnealy, O'Kinnelly, O'Kinelly, O'Kinneley, O'Kennelly, O'Kenelly, Kennelly, Kenelly, Kennealy, Keneally, O'Kennealy, O'Kenneally, Quinelly, O'Quinelly, O'Quinelley, Kenneallagh, Keneallagh, Kenealagh, O'Kenealagh, O'Kenealagh, Kinneary, Kineary, O'Kinneary and many more.

Early Notables of the Kenealy family (pre 1700)

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


Canada Kenealy migration to Canada +

A massive wave of Irish immigrants hit North America during the 19th century. Although many early Irish immigrants made a carefully planned decision to leave left Ireland for the promise of free land, by the 1840s immigrants were fleeing a famine stricken land in desperation. The condition of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s can be attributed to a rapidly expanding population and English imperial policies. Those Irish families that arrived in North America were essential to its rapid social, industrial, and economic development. Passenger and immigration lists have revealed a number of early Irish immigrants bearing the name Kenealy:

Kenealy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Kenealy, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland

Australia Kenealy migration to Australia +

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

Kenealy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Kenealy, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [1]
  • Margaret Kenealy, aged 27, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sultana" [2]
  • Patrick Kenealy, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "David Malcolm" [3]
  • Mary Kenealy, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"

New Zealand Kenealy 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:

Kenealy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Kenealy, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Kenealy (post 1700) +

  • Mel Kenealy (1903-1985), American racecar driver in the 1930 Indy 500
  • Michael Kenealy (b. 1855), American Republican politician, Speaker of the Connecticut State House of Representatives, 1903-04; Member of Connecticut State Senate, 1901-02 [4]
  • Matthew H. Kenealy (b. 1885), American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Stamford, 1919-20; Member of Connecticut State Senate 27th District, 1921-22 [4]
  • William Stephen Kenealy VC (1886-1915), Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross for his action on the Gallipoli Campaign
  • Amy Kenealy (b. 1988), Irish cricketer for the Ireland National Team
  • Edward Vaughan Hyde Kenealy (1819-1880), Irish barrister and writer, known for his actions in the Tichborne case which led to his ruin
  • Mr. John Kenealy B.E.M., British Police Constable for Metropolitan Police Service, was appointed Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Policing [5]
  • Don Kenealy, New Zealand rugby league player for the New Zealand National Team in 1912
  • Robyn E. Kenealy, creator and organizer in the New Zealand art and comics communities

HMS Dorsetshire
  • James Alfred Kenealy (d. 1945), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [6]


  1. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARSHALL BENNETT 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marshallbennett1852.shtml
  2. ^ South Australian Register Saturday 4th February 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sultana 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sultana1854.shtml.
  3. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 1st May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) David Malcolm 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/davidmalcolm1855.shtml
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  6. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html


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