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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The original Gaelic form of McKenney was Mac Cionaoith.


The surname McKenney 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.

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname McKenney were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. MacKenna, MacKennagh, MacKenney, MacKenny, MacKinna, MacKinnie and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKenney research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1544 is included under the topic Early McKenney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the McKenney family relocated to North American shores quite early:

McKenney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Coul McKenney, who arrived in Virginia in 1716

McKenney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John McKenney, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Anthony McKenney, aged 51, landed in Maryland in 1812
  • Samuel McKenney, aged 49, arrived in Maine in 1812
  • Paul McKenney, who landed in New York in 1826
  • William McKenney, aged 29, landed in Harford County, Maryland in 1833
  • ...

McKenney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jacob McKenney, who landed in Canada in 1834
  • William McKenney settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1871

  • James Felix McKenney (b. 1968), American writer, director, producer and actor
  • Ruth McKenney (1911-1972), American author and journalist, best remembered for My Sister Eileen
  • Devon McKenney (b. 1984), American soccer player
  • Joseph "Joe" McKenney, head coach of the Boston College football program (1928 to 1934)
  • Henry William McKenney (1848-1917), Canadian politician
  • Todd McKenney (b. 1965), Australian entertainer
  • Donald Hamilton McKenney (b. 1934), retired Canadian NHL ice hockey forward

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    Other References

    1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
    8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    9. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
    10. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    11. ...

    The McKenney Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The McKenney 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 17 October 2012 at 14:29.

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