Kennan 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 Kennan is O Cianain.

Early Origins of the Kennan family

The surname Kennan 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.

Important Dates for the Kennan family

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

Kennan Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Kennan were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Keenan, O'Keenan and others.

Early Notables of the Kennan family (pre 1700)

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

Kennan migration to the United States

A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Kennan or a variant listed above:

Kennan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Kennan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]
  • William Kennan, who landed in Richmond, Va in 1767 [1]
Kennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Kennan, who landed in New York in 1822 [1]
  • Michael J Kennan, who arrived in Alabama in 1855 [1]

Kennan migration to Australia

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

Kennan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary Kennan, aged 21, a house maid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion" [2]
  • Patrick Kennan, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Carnatic"

Contemporary Notables of the name Kennan (post 1700)

  • Henry Francis Kennan (1848-1928), Novelist born in Rochester New York, enlisted in the National service during the civil war, and was wounded in action at Drury's Bluff, Virginia he entered upon journalism in 1868 as a member of the staff of the Rochester, New York, "Chronicle," and first attracted attention by a remarkable account of a balloon voyage that he was prevented from making. Afterward he was connected with various newspapers in Rochester, Indianapolis, Indiana, and New York city, and as a correspondent in Washington and in Paris. In 1883 he left journalism for general literature. He has published the novels "Trajan" (New York, 1884); "The Aliens" (1886); and " One of a Thousand" (1887) [3]
  • George Frost Kennan (1904-2005), American advisor, diplomat, political scientist, historian and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Ralph R. Kennan, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Ohio State House of Representatives from Cuyahoga County, 1897 [4]
  • George Frost Kennan (1904-2005), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Soviet Union, 1952; Yugoslavia, 1961 [4]


  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. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 12th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marion 1854. Retrieved
  3. ^ Henry Kennan. (Retrieved 2015, October 15) Henry Kennan. Retrieved from
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from
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