Kennelly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Kennelly family

The surname Kennelly 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 Kennelly family

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

Kennelly Spelling Variations

Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Kennelly family name include 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 Kennelly family (pre 1700)

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


United States Kennelly migration to the United States +

In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of Kennelly:

Kennelly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Kennelly, who arrived in Virginia 1774
Kennelly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick and Mary Kennelly, who arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1849
  • John Kennelly, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [1]
  • Patrick Kennelly, who landed in Mississippi in 1892 [1]

Canada Kennelly migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kennelly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Kennelly, who arrived in Quebec in 1825 and later moved to Lindsay, Ontario
  • Miss. Noreen Kennelly, aged 7 months who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Scotland" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [2]
  • Mr. William Kennelly, aged 3 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship " Yorkshire Lass" departing from the port of Killala, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [2]

Australia Kennelly migration to Australia +

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

Kennelly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Biddy Kennelly, aged 20, a dairy maid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "David Malcolm" [3]
  • Fanny Kennelly, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"
  • Daniel Kennelly, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

New Zealand Kennelly 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:

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

Contemporary Notables of the name Kennelly (post 1700) +

  • Ryan Shawn Kennelly (b. 1974), American seven-time gold medalist powerlifter
  • Matthew F. Kennelly (b. 1956), American jurist, Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (1999-)
  • Martin H. Kennelly (1887-1961), American politician, 47th Mayor of Chicago (1947-1955)
  • Keala Kennelly (b. 1978), American professional surfer, two-time winner of Billabong Pro, inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame & Actions Sports Hall of Fame
  • Barbara B. Kennelly (b. 1936), American politician, Vice Chairperson of the House Democratic Conference (1995-1999), 67th Secretary of the State of Connecticut (1979-1982)
  • Arthur Edwin Kennelly (1861-1939), Irish-born, American electrical engineer, awarded the AIEE Edison Medal (1933), IRE Medal of Honor (1932), Howard N. Potts Medal (1918) and the Edward Longstreth Medal (1917)
  • Ardyth Kennelly (1912-2005), American novelist
  • Tim "Horse" Kennelly (1954-2005), Irish Gaelic football player
  • Brendan Kennelly (b. 1936), Irish poet and novelist, former Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College, Dublin
  • Tadhg Kennelly (b. 1981), Irish Gaelic football player
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 37)
  3. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 5th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) David Malcolm 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/davidmalcolm1854.shtml


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