This interesting surname of English origin is derived from the Middle English Kenewi, Old English Cynewig or Cenwig, composed of the elements "cyne" meaning "royal" or "cene" meaning "keen" or "bold" plus "wig" "war" hence "royal war" or "bold war". The surname dates back to the early 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Ralph Kenewi (1221) "Charters and Rolls in the British Museum,, London". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Kennaway, Kenneway, Kenaway, etc. One William Kenneway married Margaret Higgos at St.Dunstan, Stepney on June 5th 1601. One Joseph Kenway married Anne Berkett at St. James' Dukes Place, London on July 30th 1694, and David Kennoway married Elizabeth Power on May 12th 1715 at St. Dunstan, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Chienewe, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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