This unusual and interesting surname of English origin is either a nickname from the Middle English "Kene" (Olde English pre 7th century "Cene") meaning "fierce", "brave", "proud" or it may be from the Middle English "brave", or it may be from the Middle English given name Kene, a short form of any of the various Old English personal names with the first element "cene" or "cyne" or "cyne" "royal" (from "cyning" "chieftain", "king", a derivative of "cyn(n)" a "tribe, "race", "people"). Finally, it any be of Irish origin being an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O' Cathain "descendant of Cathan", a personal name from a diminutive of "cath" meaning "battle". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Hugh le Kene (1273). "The Subsidy Rolls of Oxfordshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Kinney, Kenny, Kinny etc.. One Elizabeth Keeney was christened at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster on October 9th 1581, and Jane Keeney was christened at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster on April 30th 1587. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Kene, which was dated 1207, "Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. 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.
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