The spelling and overall form of Irish names tend to vary widely over time. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Kennedy is O'Cinneide, which is derived from the words "ceann," which means "head," and "éidigh," which means "helmet."
Early Origins of the O'Kennedy family
The surname O'Kennedy was first found in County Tipperary
(Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland
, in the province of Munster
. This distinguished Irish family were descended from Kennedy, nephew of King Brian Boru, Ireland's great Warrior King who fell in the battle of Clontarf in the year 1014.
Early History of the O'Kennedy family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Kennedy research.Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1615 and 1685 are included under the topic Early O'Kennedy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Kennedy Spelling Variations
One must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English was a daunting task. Even today the translation is a difficult one. Accordingly, spelling variations
were the norm. Variations found include Kennedy, Minagh, Kennady, O'Kennedy and others.
Early Notables of the O'Kennedy family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family at this time was Mathew Kennedy, who was forced to leave Ireland
for France after the Fall of Limerick; Sir Robert Kennedy, 1st Baronet
, an official of the... Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Kennedy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Kennedy family to the New World and Oceana
A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name O'Kennedy or one of its variants:
O'Kennedy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- J. J. Kerby O'Kennedy, who emigrated to the United States from Cork, in 1903
- Mrs. J. J. O'Kennedy, who settled in America from Cork, in 1903
- John J. O'Kennedy, aged 42, who landed in America from Helena, Montana, in 1924
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Kennedy (post 1700)
- Professor Richard O'Kennedy, Irish author and academic at Dublin City University
- Seán O'Kennedy (1885-1949), Irish hurler and Gaelic football player
- Michael O'Kennedy (b. 1936), former Irish Fianna Fáil politician