Recorded in several spellings including Kener, Kenner, the diminutives Kenlin and Kenelin, and the compounds Kennerknecht, Kennerman, and Kennler, this is usually a German surname of ancient medieval origins. It is a nickname or perhaps a professional name, for somebody who was either very knowledgeable or at least claimed to be, a connoisseur, although a connoisseur of what is unclear. The Irish surname (Mac) Kenna may have been confused with the German spelling particularly in the USA, although the two origins are totally separate. (Mac) Kenna, the Mac is often dropped, is from the pre 10th century Gaelic Mac Cionaoith and translates as "the son of the sharing one", possibly a reference to a holyman or hermit. The surname in Germany is one of the first ever recorded, and early examples taken from the authentic surviving registers and charters of the period include - Heinrich Kennler of Wasserinne in the year 1276, and Hans Kennermannin of Weingarten in 1296. Other recordings include Petrus Kennigen of Konigheim in 1514 and Jacob Kenelin of Reutlingen in 1523. The first of all the recordings may be that of Albertus Kenli, of Zeuge near Stuttgart, Germany, in the year 1256.
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