This interesting name, noted in medieval records of the Irish Province of Leinster from the end of the 13th Century is ultimately of Welsh locational origin from a place in Glamorgan, south of Port Talbot called Kenfig. The place is believed to have been so called from Cynfrig, an Old Welsh personal name containing the elements "cyn", a chief, "(gw)r", a man or hero, plus the suffix of quality "iq". The name was introduced into Ireland soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion and initially had the prefix "de", i.e., "de Kinfig".Later it was Gaeliziced "Cinipheic", and became widespread in Munster, especially County Cork. The name occurs as "Kenefeake" in the Kinsale Presentments of 1712, and in the modern idiom is also spelt Kenefick, Kennifeck and Kenafaque. On March 17th 1785, Catherine Kenefeck, an infant, was christened in Killarney, County Kerry. James Kennefick and Mary Curtain were married in Limerick Cathedral on November 15th 1803, and one Thomas Kenefick was born in Kinsale, County Cork, on February 25th 1864. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of de Kinfig, which was dated circa 1270, in "Medieval Records of Dublin City", during the reign of Cathal Craobhdhearg, ("Red Hand"), High King of Ireland, 1198 - 1224. 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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