Recorded as MacKenna, McKenna, Kenna, Kennea, and Kennagh, this is an Irish surname. It originates from the Gaelic personal name "Mac Cionaodha", composed of the elements "cion", meaning respect or affection and "Aodh", the name of the pagan god of fire, hence "the son of beloved Aodh". Located mainly in County Monaghan where they were "Lords of Truagh", the name is now frequently found in Munster. Originally MacKenna, this spelling is the more widespread form of the name in Scotland along with Mackinna and MacKinney. It is said that emigrants from Ireland and local Irish people eager to pursue a career in the British civil service dropped the "Mac" prefix in the 18th century, but this does not seem to have halter or marred its progress. Many of the sept made their name in the fields of literature including Andrew MacKenna (1833 - 1872) who was a leading editor and writer in Belfast, whilst slightly earlier General John MacKenna (1771 - 1814) having served in the Spanish Army, joined Bernard O' Higgins the "Liberator of Chile", and became an important figure in South America. John Kenna was christened on May 12th 1827 at Endell Street lying in hospital, city of London, and Julia Kennea was a passenger on the ship "Ferozepore of Liverpool" bound for New York on May 4th 1847. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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