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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

Where did the Irish Kenny family come from? What is the Irish Kenny family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kenny family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kenny family history?

The Kenny surname in Ireland comes from the Gaelic O Coinnigh, which was an old Irish first name, made popular by a 6th century monk of the name, whose "church of Coinneach" became the name of the town Kilkenny.

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Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Kenny family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Kenny, O'Kenny, Kenney, Kennie and others.

First found in counties Galway and Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kenny research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kenny History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Kenny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Kenny family in North America:

Kenny Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Edmund Kenny, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Kenny, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Richard Kenny, who landed in Virginia in 1637
  • Edmund Kenny, who arrived in Virginia in 1655

Kenny Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Dennis Kenny, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1736
  • John Kenny, who settled in Virginia in 1771

Kenny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Mary Kenny, aged 36, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Alexander Kenny, who landed in New Jersey in 1811
  • David Kenny, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Margaret Kenny, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • Ellen Kenny, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817


Kenny Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Kenny, who arrived in Canada in 1812
  • Hugh Kenny, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Sally Kenny, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Michael Kenny, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1824
  • Patrick Kenny, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1829


Kenny Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Catherine Kenny, aged 23, a domestic servant, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • Michael Kenny arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Abberton" in 1846
  • Michael Kenny arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846
  • Mary Kenny arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • Elizabeth Kenny arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Stebonheath" in 1849


Kenny Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Kenny landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • N. Kenny arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1864
  • Richard Kenny arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Judith Kenny arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Ellen Kenny, aged 18, a servant, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874


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  • Maurice Kenny (b. 1929), American author
  • Nicholas Aloysius "Nick" Kenny (1895-1975), American syndicated newspaper columnist and poet
  • Enda Kenny (b. 1951), Irish Fine Gael politician
  • Douglas Kenny (1924-1996), Canadian Psychologist, head of the Department of Psychology, and later, President of the University of British Columbia (1975-1983)
  • Elizabeth Kenny (1886-1952), Australian nurse, known for her rehabilitation techniques with polio patients
  • Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny (b. 1931), English philosopher from Liverpool
  • Jason Francis Kenny MBE (b. 1988), British track cyclist
  • Patrick Joseph "Paddy" Kenny (b. 1978), English footballer
  • Brett Kenny (b. 1961), Australian former professional rugby league footballer from Gerringong, New South Wales
  • Mr. Edward J Kenny, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

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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: Teneat luceat floreat
Motto Translation: May it hold an shine.

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  1. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  6. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  10. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  11. ...

The Kenny Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kenny Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 April 2015 at 23:31.

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