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

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

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.


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.

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.

I want to know what the surname means

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

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.

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.

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!

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 :-)

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

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.

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.

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

Dean Kenny

some interesting stuff on here :)

Charles Kenny
family history.

Looking for information on Marguerite Kenny born 1820 Ireland died Marguerite White Quebec Canada in 1865

Shane Kenny
My family from around Leeds mid 1800's to present day, prior to that we were McKenna but changed to Kenny in around the 1890's. William McKenna died in Leeds 1867 born in Ireland around 1824 married Margerat, but unable to trace any more detail from William, like where in Ireland etc