Last name: Kenny

This most interesting surname is of Old Gaelic origin, found in Scotland and Ireland, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O Cionnaoith", composed of the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of, and the personal name "Coinneach", an Old Irish personal name borne by a 6th Century monk and saint who gave his name to the town of Kilkenny, "Church of Coinneach". The name is the seventy-sixth most popular name in Ireland, and the majority of the people so called belong to Counties Roscommon and Galway. The O'Kenny sept formed part of the Ui Maine (Hy Many) tribe. By coincidence Kenny is also the name of a prominent English family from Somerset, who through extensive intermarriage with County Galway families became important landowners there and in Roscommon. They descended from Nicholas Kenny, Escheator-General for Ireland under Elizabeth 1. The name in Scotland, may, in some instances, be the Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name "Cionaodha", perhaps composed of "cion", respect, affection, and "Aodh", the pagan god of fire. The surname is first recorded in England because record keeping in Ireland has been perforce erratic since the 12th Century due to the upheavals of war and occupation. Rev. P.J. Kenny S.J. (1779 - 1841), was founder of Clongoweswood College, an exclusive private school in Ireland, and was one of the most distinguished Catholic preachers in the 19th Century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matyle Kennie, which was dated February 14th 1563, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2015

Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA!

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll

Dean Kenny

some interesting stuff on here :)

Marie Anne Kenny

I am searching a Kenny family who lived in Antrim in 50s to the 80s - maybe longer. There was a daughter named Jean and I believe the father a P. Kenny was a nurse. If anyone knows anything about them would like to hear. Thanks

James Kenny

Wondering where my family began in Australia? My Name is James William Kenny, my father is Robin Clifford Kenny ('59) his father was William (Billy) Kenny. Just wondering where my name came from and i am interested in the history of our legend.

Paula Perkins

Searching a Kenny family that lived in Dublin 1930's. One female first name unknown Kenny married a man with a surname of Madden. They had 6 to 8 children. Births listed as Dublin North district. Father was in United States not sure were he was born and went back for the Black and Tan war. The mother died around 1952. Two children's names were Philomena born 1935 and Eamon(n). Any information appreciated on these two families.

Brenda Maddick

I am researching a rose Kenny who married Patrick Madden and lived in Dublin in 1930s. they had several children. Rose died in 1939.

Judih Bazeley

Hello has anyone got any info on my family on my mums side My mother was Molly Elizabeth Kenny her father was John Patrick Dominic Kenny born 1894 in Australia his parents are Thomas Joseph Kenny born 1852 N.S.W Australia married to Elizabeth Powsey any thing would be lovely thankyou


hey my nan is molly elizabeth kenny? i wonder if it is the same person? she married an anstis and had i think 8 or 9 children? maybe its someone different.

suzanne anstis

my mother was molly elizabeth anstis married to percy cyril antis and had nine children.lived in hawkes bay before moving to wellington. is sel a on line name or is it your real name if so it's not the same family but a huge coincidence

mandie manning

Hi just wondering if anyone can help, I am looking for my fathers side of the family, they are from Liverpool, My father was Terence Kenny, as far as I know his mother was Alice Kenny, his dad Daniel Kenny, from what I can gather he had Brothers George, John, sister Alice, possibly others, I believe George passed away in 2005 and was married to Catherine [Kitty] any information would be very helpful. thank you in advance :-)

Mila Kenny

Hello, fellow Kennys! I'm from a line of Kennys who moved to New Zealand. Does anyone know anything about that move though? I've looked, and I can't find much! A reply would be great, but it is cool to see all the Kennys in one place!

judith bazeley

Hello my mum was a Kenny is have a little on them my grandfather was John Patrick Dominic Kenny born 1894 I have just put a post up have a look to see if its the same family id love it if it was many thanks Judy

Peter kenny

Hi - trying to find any information about my great, great grandfather - the enigmatic george kenny - died 1861, lived in dalkey, worked for a legal firm, married 1st to an elizabeth connolly who died 1838, then in 1847 married a mary-ellen little, who emigrated to australia in 1862 upon georges death. Having severs trouble trying to find details of george - when he was born, parents etc...... Any assistance from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Peter Kenny
Good Morning, I have heard that the Kenny family still owns a castle somewhere in Ireland. As we are heading to Ireland for our Honeymoon my wife and I would like to have a visit to the castle if there is one still in the Kenny name.
Any information would be greatfully appreciated.

Agustìn Rolla
I just wanted to thank for the information, helped me a lot

I want to know what the surname means

Billy Kenny

Generally: 1) "modern" understanding is that it means "handsome" 2) thought to be made up of "Cion" and " Aodh" - "beloved of Aodh (a pagan Irish deity) 3) in Scotland it is accepted as the same as the surname MacKenzie (which is "funny" anyway - since the MacKenzies are originally Irish too (extarct below is from the Clan MacKenzie Society website) There are several variations in the spelling of the name Mackenzie, i.e. MacKenzie, McKenzie, Macenzie, McEnzie, Makenzie, MaKenzie, M’Kenzie, Kenny, Kenney, MacKenny, MacKenney, McKenny, McKenney, Mackinzie, McKinzie, MacKinney, McKinney &c, they are accepted as Septs or variations of the Mackenzie Clan name. Often in centuries past it was the local Monk or Minister who could read and write and who also decided on the spelling of people’s names when entering Baptism, Marriage or Burial records. So when writing an unfamiliar name it had to be written as it sounded and misspellings would often occur especially when the informant had a strong accent.

Charlie Kenny
Hey, I am looking for a certain W.G.Kenny, I think the first name is William. Anyway, he served in WW1 in the Gordan's Highlanders Regiment, I'm not sure which battalion, but I do know that he was awarded a Victoria Cross, according to a relative because of rescuing some people. Could you research this and post it on the website please, if it isn't too much trouble, or on those military records.

Robyn Kenny
Hi I am looking for the origin of my g-g-grandfather John Kenny who was born about 1821. Apparently he always said he wasn't Irish. I think he was a carpenter and was a sapper with the Royal Engineers in Kent in 1841. He married a Bridget Reynolds but I know nothing of her origin as well. It is said that John had a falling out with his family and even later declined an inheritance. He came to Australia in 1851 with the Royal Engineers.


Joseph Kenny
Hi, I am the head of the Ui Maine Kenny Clan, registered with the clans of Ireland. I have posted a good bit of information on the Clan Facebook page on the history and origin of this sept of the Kingdom of Ui Maine (Hy Many). Please contact me through the Facebook page if you have any questions.

a.j kenny
I guess id call you boss then, but seriously we have a great name that can be traced back a long time, one of the high kings of Ireland around the year 700 - 800 was called Kenny.. people forget that. I grew up in the Wicklow mountains and I was told the story of the ui maine long before the internet, its nice to know their are others who are as proud as I am..

Hi John kenny Liverpool here my dad was form Dudlin he was born 1912 moved to Liverpool as a child

Hi my name is Ellen Kenny my grandfather was Jerry Kenny born in Cork, Ireland in the late 1800's. I know he was adopted. Does anyone know any possible relatives of his.

John kenny
I'm John kenny born Belfast 1948 my father also John born Belfast 1912 .my grandfather was James.william kenny born co.wexford 1864

Hi John. I'm Art's grandson, David (Art is James William's grandson, through Arthur Simpson Kenny). i remeber your dad John was the war hero who was captured in Gent, during WWII (we still have a newspaper cutting) complete hero! Art lost his wife (my granny Sally) recently, but is really Keen to help me document our family's history. It'd be great to get in touch. Kind regards, David Ward +44 7736811638

James William Kenny

My name is James William Kenny, my father is Robin Clifford Kenny, his father William (Billy) Kenny, Australian Farming Family

Philip Homans
Hi my name is Philip, all I know is my mother was called Margaret Mary Kenny and lived in Paddington, I was born on the 25th Oct 1948 at St Marys Hospital this is all the information about myself I have, I was brought up by a family called Homans can anyone shed any light please. I took the name Homans by deedpoll.

John kenny
Hi my name is john kenny from liverpool my Dad was Frankie kenny one of 11 kids my dad was the youngest born 1917 my grandad was paddy kenny from Ireland dont no were but would love to fined out my nanny was also from ireland my dad was born in 92 rosalind street liverpool L20 if any one can halp my trace were my grandad come from in ireland thankyou

Mick crisp
Alright John, did your dad have a brother called James Kenny ? As my mothers dad was called James and lived in that exact address years ago??? Cheers

David Bennett
My maternal grandmother was Mary Kenny from Co Cork born around 1865 ? She married a William Domville, boatbuilder, of Liverpool and they produced several children, my mother being the only girl. I recall a brass box , possibly cigarette box, which looked like it was a student / apprentice piece and it had the name Kenny hand engraved in a scroll type script in the top left corner of the lid. Mother was unclear as to its origins except to say that it had belonged to her parents.

muir kenny and yes muirs my first name :-P
Hi my name is muir kenny my father was mungo muir kenny origanilly from ireland he lived in ayr scotland just looking to find out more about my dads side of my family i am on facebook as jock s trap thanks for your time muir

Billy Kenny

Muir - I have a feeling that you are my cousin (loads of us btw!).....My Uncle, Mungo Muir Kenny, was not, in fact, from Ireland.....he was from Ayr.....and our family have been here since around 1850 (yet they all insist they are Irish - we are originally from Co. Fermanagh). I can let you know what you want to know. Best Regards Billy

Billy Kenny


Brian Kenny
Hi All, I am Brian Kenny from Dublin, Ireland - my great-great-grandfather's family lived at 1 Summer Arch, Mountjoy, Dublin in the 1901 census & lived at 8 Temple Lane North, Mountjoy, Dublin in the 1911 census. I have been researching the family for 2 years. In the census of 1901 & 1911 ireland at the above addresses John (born 1858) & his wife Mary (Maria) (born 1858 nee Murphy in Dublin) married on 24/05/1885 St Agatha's, North William Street, Dublin had 9 children but only 5 children were listed as alive during the census 1911. They're known children were Richard Jr (1886), John (1889), Thomas (1892), Joseph (1897) & William (1902). My relative John (1889-???1967???) married Mary Butler (1889-1949) in 1910 and had 7 known children Mary (1914-1951), Eileen (1917-1965), John Jr (1921-1987), William (1924-2000's in Toronto, Canada), Bridget (1925-1989), Elizabeth (1927-1983) & Annie (1930-1932). Would love to hear from any persons who think they are related to any of these Kenny's above - email

Camilla Kenny
hi trying to find my dads familiy my dad was born in Liverpool.,his parents are ellen [queenie] and james [jim] Kenny,towards the end of their lives they lived Brandy House Brow Blackburn. Both my grandparents where from big families,can you help?

Barb Carpenter
Hi it is nice to see the origin of my maiden name Kenny. I am wondewring if anyone can help with information on a Morgan Kenny born possibly 1855 in Clare, Ireland. I believe he is my grandfather, his son was Peter Ignatius Kenny born 1880 in Australia he left my grandmother and went to America. One of his sons was John born 1915 in Australia. Can anyone help me to trace Morgan Kenny or Margaret Ann Kellett who is his wife and they are my great grandparents, many thanks.


thank u for your help Martin. I appreciate it very much.

to all the Kennys , original census for 1901 and 1911 can be viewed online for free, say you are looking for Kenny, do a search as county Sligo , then look for all the Kennys in county sligo,then narrow it down to townland , I hope this helps someone.

Thanks Martin..but unfortunately I am not so sure how to go about it. from Hana

I am searching for some information of Kenny Joe Alan age 48yrs old born 8 Sep , from Dublin ..currently staying at ashtown. He is divorcee with a girl , working at Shell Petroleum as a Manager. Anyone have any information about him ? Thanks

John Kenny
Hi I'm John Kenny I'm in BC Canada My family has been in Canada at least 4 generations. My Dad Is Robert (Bob) , My grandfather was Angus.

William Kenny
Hi all fellow Kenny's My name is William Kenny I'm from the west midlands also known as the black country in the UK My great uncle Harold emergrated from the Oldbury UK in the 1920's or 30's and settled in the Ontario area of Canada. I only met him once in the early 1970's when he visited and stayed with his niece Patricia Rodwell nee Kenny my aunt. Patricia passed away over 10 years ago and she was the only family member to keep in contact with the Canadian side of my family. Would love to hear from any Kenny's who recognise any of the names I've mentioned.

im Martin Kenny , born in sligo ireland 1954, now living in NY.

hello Martin. I am a Kenny, 2nd generation here in the U.S. My grandparents came from Sligo in approx. 1918. My grandfather's name was Joseph and my Nana was Catherine (nee Meehan). I know he had many siblings. Would love to speak to you, as I am sure there must be a connection! Upon arrival in the states, they settled in Astoria and then Woodside, NY . My name is Deborah Kenny

Hi Deborah, I can trace my name to my great grandfather 1911, you can get the original census for 1901 and 1911 online , I was born in Rathlee easkey County Sligo in 1954, what part of sligo did your famile come from ? , Martin

Pat Kenny
How's it going in NY. I'm a limerick Kenny.

Elise Kenny
Hello All, I'm another Kenny, I'm looking for anyone with any information about John and James Kenny (b 1771, 1773) and arrested in Cork in 1791. Likely to be from Carlow and were Roman Catholic. Or if anyone knows of a good place to search for them? Thank you!

Michael Kenny
I have a lot of information about the history of James and John Kenny who were deported to Australia as convicts arriving in Sydney in in 1793. I am a direct descendant of James Kenny - my mother has done a detailed family history since 1793 - I live in Sydney Australia

david king
I am writing a history about early settlers in the Monaro district of which Francis Kenny was one. Would be interested in any information about the family that you have.

Sarah Kenny
Hi Michael and David, James would be my great-great-great-great-great grandfather. I have the book 'A footprint on the Sands of Time' by Judy Kenny. Michael, would this be your mother? This is where I have most of my information from, I just can't seem to find the family prior to this time. Thank you!

Michael Kenny
Hi Sarah, Judy Kenny is my fathers cousin she lives Canberra and she has all the history that I know - anything earlier than 1793 is Irish history and I don't have anything on that

June M Kenny
Hi, my name is June Marjorie Kenny (England)and my Grandfather was Wilfred Biggin Kenny. I too love my surname and would never change it for anything!

Brian Kenny
Hi All, I am Brian Kenny from Clonsilla, Dublin, Ireland - my father's family lived at 6 Summer Place, Summerhill, Dublin City for 3 generations head of households being John Kenny's born between 1858 and 1921. I have been researching the family for 18 months. In the census 1911 ireland at the above address John (born 1858) & his wife Bridget (born Ronan in 1864 Dublin) married on 13/01/1884 St Mary's Pro Catheral Dublin & had 15 children but only 11 children were alive during the census 1911. I have 12 of children's names which are John (1885), Catherine (1886), Mary (1887), William (1890), Patrick (1891), Bridget (1894), Andrew (1896), James (1898), Elizabeth (1901-died young), Joseph (1904), Michael (1905), Christina (1906). Would love to hear from any persons who think they are related to any of these Kenny's above - email

georgina kenny
in same boat. can i ask if ur family is r.c or c.o.i cos lots of the names u mention are similar to mine. family resided at pembroke cottages ringsend and trace back to longford.

Brian Kenny
hi georgina, my family are Roman Catholic dating back as far back as 1853 to the birth of John Kenny.

James kenny
James Kenny, Glasgow. Born 1980

Heather Kenny
There is a whole clan of Kenny's in Ontario, Canada near Kingston, Gananoque, Toronto, Seeleys Bay, and some moved to California. I have a family photo from 1920 and we all still look alike going back at least 4 generations. In 1982, someone I didn't know picked me out on the street in Gananoque as a Kenny. His comment was, "I don't know you, but aren't you a Kenny?" The family came over from Ireland in 1820.

Lawrence Irving
Heather: My great grandmother was Mary Kenny who married John Savoy from Miramichi New Brunswick. She died in 1900 giving birth to twins. Would you know if she is related to you. I am trying to find out more about her. When she died, John remarried to Bosalice Savoie and went on to have 13 more children. for a total of atleast 19 children. Thanks Larry Irving

Robert Kenny
My name is Robert kenny my grandfather was arthur kenny his side of family was from ireland we settle in victoria then came to bunbury western australia Hope to hear from family members

John kenny
Hi my name is John Kenny from Ireland,my dad was from Kilteely,Dromkeen and his dad was called Timoty kenny so im just searching my family foots

Shawna Kenny here in Alberta Canada. My surname means the world to me and I`d never change it either!

Pamela young
My family name is Kenny. My father was James Kenny of penicuik scotland later Leith in Edinburgh. Born 1907. Are there any of my reletives up there in scotland. I am Pam Young.

janine kenny
amazing!! my surname means the world to me :o)

Pat Kenny
Me 2.