MacKennedy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The ancestors of the MacKennedy family lived among the Strathclyde-Briton people in the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for a dour or serious person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Gaelic nickname Cinneididh, which translates as grim-headed. It is doubtful that there is any ancient relationship between the Irish Kennedys and the Scottish Clan.
The Irish Kennedy's history dates back to about 900 AD, and there did not appear to be any direct relationship between the two families. However, in the 16th century, a sept of the Scottish Kennedy Clan did develop in Ulster, but they are undoubtedly migrants from Scotland, and had no previous link to the southern Irish Kennedys.
Early Origins of the MacKennedy family
The surname MacKennedy was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where the earliest record of them dates from 1185, during the reign of King William the Lion, when a Henry Kennedy was reported to have been involved in a rebellion in Galloway but died in battle.
The Kennedys derived from a branch of Celtic Earls of Galloway (not to be confused with Gallway, which is in Ireland). Their power and influence in that region was great. In fact, there is a rhyme handed down through clansmen and bards from the year 1300 which runs as follows: 'Twixt Wigtown and the town of Ayr, Portpatrick and the Cruives of Cree. No man need think to bide there, unless he court with Kennedy.' 
Early History of the MacKennedy family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacKennedy research. Another 246 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1296, 1513, 1406, 1437, 1646, 1406, 1480, 1451, 1508, 1513, 1509, 1513, 1527, 1515, 1558, 1541, 1576, 1573, 1615, 1668, 1653, 1701 and are included under the topic Early MacKennedy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacKennedy Spelling Variations
In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. MacKennedy has been spelled Kennedy, Kannady, Kenardy, Kennaday, Kenneday, Kenneyday, Kennediem, MacKennedy, MacUalraig (Gaelic) and many more.
Early Notables of the MacKennedy family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was Gilbert Kennedy, 1st Lord Kennedy (c. 1406-c. 1480); John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy (1451-1508); David Kennedy, 3rd Lord Kennedy (d. 1513) (created Earl of Cassilis in 1509); David Kennedy, 1st Earl of Cassilis (d. 1513); Gilbert Kennedy, 2nd Earl of Cassilis...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacKennedy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacKennedy family to Ireland
Some of the MacKennedy family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 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 MacKennedy family
Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them: Alexander Kennedy settled in Charleston in 1763; Alexander Kennedy settled in Virginia in 1774; Angus Kennedy settled in New York in 1775; Hector Kennedy settled in Philadelphia in 1806.
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The MacKennedy 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: Avise la fin
Motto Translation: Consider the end.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)