McElhaney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname McElhaney comes from the Irish Mac Giolla Chainnigh, meaning the son of a servant or devotee of St. Canice, also known as St. Kenny. The place name Kilkenny, is also derived from the saint; in Irish it is Cill Chainnigh, meaning the church of St. Canice.

Early Origins of the McElhaney family

The surname McElhaney was first found in County Derry, where the sept was of the Cenel Eoghain group.

Saint Cainnech or Cannicus (d. 598?), was "Abbot of Achadh-bo, and the patron saint from whom Kilkenny (Cill-Cainnech) receives its name, has been generally identified with the more famous St. Kenneth or Kenny, to whom so many Scotch churches have been dedicated. Most of the early authorities state that he died between 598 and 600 A.D., at the age of eighty-four. This gives from 514 to 516 as the year of his birth." [1]

The St. Canice branch of whom they were originally followers, came from Dromachose, County Derry. Of this branch, David de Kilkenny, was Bishop of Achonry, County Sligo (1312 to 1344.) Ironically the name is not taken from the town in Leinster or the county named Kilkenny. References to the surname were rare throughout history. [2]

Early History of the McElhaney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McElhaney research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1690 and 1866 are included under the topic Early McElhaney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McElhaney Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kilkenny, MacKilkenny, MacElhinny, MacElheeny, MacIlhenny and many more.

Early Notables of the McElhaney family (pre 1700)

Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McElhaney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McElhaney Ranking

In the United States, the name McElhaney is the 5,333rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]

United States McElhaney migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McElhaney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Rebacca McElhaney, aged 43, who arrived at Youngstown, Ohio, in 1914
  • James McElhaney, aged 43, who settled in America from London, England, in 1920
  • Mary S. Mc Elhaney, aged 45, who arrived in New York in 1923 aboard the ship "Araguaya" from Bermuda [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name McElhaney (post 1700) +

  • Bud McElhaney, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from North Carolina 2nd District, 1986
  • James W. McElhaney, American lawyer and educator, Joseph C. Hostetler Professor Emeritus of Trial Practice and Advocacy at Case Western Reserve University's School of Law
  • Douglas L. McElhaney, American diplomat, Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2004 to 2007)

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Mary S. Mc Elhaney, 15 Mar 1923; citing departure port Bermuda, arrival port New York, ship name Araguaya, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). on Facebook
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