McKenna History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of McKenna was Mac Cionaoith.

Early Origins of the McKenna family

The surname McKenna was first found in County Monaghan (Irish: Muineachán) located in the Northern part of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Ulster, at Truagh where they were known as the Lords of Truagh.

Early History of the McKenna family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKenna research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1544 is included under the topic Early McKenna History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McKenna Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McKenna family name. Variations found include MacKenna, MacKennagh, MacKenney, MacKenny, MacKinna, MacKinnie and many more.

Early Notables of the McKenna family (pre 1700)

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

McKenna World Ranking

In the United States, the name McKenna is the 1,603rd most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name McKenna is ranked the 1,000th most popular surname with an estimated 5,428 people with that name. [2] And in Australia, the name McKenna is the 534th popular surname with an estimated 7,261 people with that name. [3]


United States McKenna migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name McKenna:

McKenna Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward McKenna, who landed in America in 1810 [4]
  • Bridget McKenna, aged 8, who landed in New York, NY in 1834 [4]
  • John McKenna, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834 [4]
  • Nancy McKenna, aged 10, who landed in New York, NY in 1834 [4]
  • Peter McKenna, aged 11, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McKenna migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McKenna Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McKenna, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary McKenna, aged 35, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Rose McKenna, aged 6, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary Ann McKenna, aged 5, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Jane McKenna, aged 3, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McKenna migration to Australia +

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

McKenna Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Eleanor Mckenna, (Mccormick) who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. Bryan Mckenna, (Mccormack), English convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 6th April 1824, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Thomas McKenna, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Henry McKenna, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 29th April 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. John Mckenna, (b. 1812), aged 19, Irish shepherd who was convicted in Monaghan, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 5th November 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McKenna 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:

McKenna Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Mckenna, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [10]
  • Mrs. Margaret Mckenna, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [10]
  • Mr. John McKenna, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [11]
  • Miss Isabella McKenna, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [11]
  • Miss Jane McKenna, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McKenna (post 1700) +

  • Mike McKenna (b. 1983), American professional NHL ice hockey goaltender
  • Malcolm Carnegie McKenna (1930-2008), American paleontologist
  • Joseph McKenna (1843-1926), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Kevin McKenna (1945-2019), Irish republican and volunteer, Chief of Staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (1983–1997)
  • Mrs. Diana Barbara McKenna O.B.E., British Head for Specialist Disabled Children’s Services for Derbyshire County Council, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [12]
  • Stephen McKenna (1939-2017), British-born visual artist
  • Catherine McKenna, Canadian federal politician, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (2015-)
  • Guy Lindsay McKenna (b. 1969), Australian rules football coach and former player
  • Stephen McKenna (b. 1985), Scottish football midfielder
  • Paul Stephen McKenna (b. 1977), English footballer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Lady of the Lake
  • Mr. Owen McKenna, Irish traveller from County Tyrone, Ireland who sailed aboard the "Lady of the Lake" from Greenock, Scotland on 8th April 1833 to Quebec, Canada when the ship hit ice and sunk of the coast of Newfoundland on the 11th May 1833 and he survived the sinking
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Patrick Mckenna, Irish Fireman from Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Frank Mckenna, English Trimmer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. John Mckenna, English Trimmer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Bernard Mckenna, Irish Trimmer from Castlebellingham, Louth, Ireland, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [13]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Kenneth K. McKenna, American Signalman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [14]


Suggested Readings for the name McKenna +

  • The MacKennas of Troagh by C. Eugene Swezey.
  • The American Descendants of James McCourt, John McKenny, Matthew Young and Allied Families by Martha F. McCourt.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  6. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 26th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1826
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th April 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  13. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  14. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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