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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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

The original Gaelic form of McKenney was Mac Cionaoith.


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.

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.


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.


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


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 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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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The McKenney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com 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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