Show ContentsKenneth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Scottish-Dalriadan name Kenneth is derived from the personal name Coinneach. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Coinnich or Mac Choinnich, both of which mean son of Coinneach. However, In Adamnan, the Gaelic form of the name is Cainnechus, which is derived from the word cann, meaning fair or bright; thus, the surname is of the 'nickname' variety in this case.

Early Origins of the Kenneth family

The surname Kenneth was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Kenneth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kenneth research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1278, 1561, 1568, 1569, 1594, 1611, 1630, 1635, 1636, 1651, 1662, 1677, 1678, 1688, 1691, 1714, 1715, 1771 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Kenneth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kenneth Spelling Variations

Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of Kenneth include MacKenzie, McKenzie, Kennethson, Kenneth, Kennieson, MacCoinnich (Gaelic), MacWhinnie, MacWhinny, MacWhinney and many more.

Early Notables of the Kenneth family

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was

  • Kenneth Mackenzie (died 1568), 10th of Kintail and nicknamed Coinneach na Cuirc (or "Kenneth of the Whittle"), a Highland chief
  • Kenneth Mackenzie, the first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail (c.1569-1611), a Highland Clan chief
  • Kenneth Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Seaforth (1635-1678), a Highland clan chief and Scottish nobleman

Ireland Migration of the Kenneth family to Ireland

Some of the Kenneth family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Kenneth family

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The Kenneth were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Alexander McKenzie, his wife Isobel and their four children, who settled in Philadelphia in 1775; John and Mary McKenzie, who settled with two children in New York in 1738.

Contemporary Notables of the name Kenneth (post 1700) +

  • John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), Canadian-born American economist and author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Donald Kenneth Sundquist (1936-2023), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Tennessee 7th District, 1983-95; Governor of Tennessee, 1995- 1
  • Bruce Kenneth Childs (1934-2023), Australian politician, born in Sydney, Senator for New South Wales (1981-1997)
  • Scott Kenneth Chipperfield (b. 1975), Australian former soccer player who played as a midfielder for Wollongong Wolves, FC Basel, FC Aesch and Australia
  • Ivan Kenneth Eyre CM OM RCA (1935-2022), Canadian artist best known for his prairie landscapes and compositionally abstract, figurative paintings
  • Sir Charles Kenneth Murchison (1872-1952), British politician, Member of Parliament for Huntingdonshire (1924–1929) and (1922-1923)
  • David Kenneth Jones (1941-2022), Welsh international rugby union player, born in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire
  • Lewis Kenneth Chaffe, American tobacco company executive, Richmond, Virginia
  • Knute Kenneth Rockne (1888-1931), Norwegian/American football coach
  • Hugh Kenneth Leatherman Sr. (1931-2021), American politician who served as a Republican member of the South Carolina Senate from 1981 until his death in 2021, President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate, member of the State Budget and Control Board until it was abolished in 2014

The Kenneth 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: Luceo non uro
Motto Translation: I shine not burn.

  1. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from on Facebook