Recorded as Kidney, Kydney, Kidder, and Kidner, this most interesting surname is Anglo-Irish. If Irish it is now chiefly to be found in County Cork, as an anglicized form by pseudo translation of the Old Gaelic name O'Dubhain. It would seem that the Gaelic word 'dubhan' translates as kidney, and as a result of 16th century misinterpretation in South West Cork some of the O'Dubhain's were called Kidney, a form which remains today! Correctly the surname translates as 'The male descendant of the black haired or (swarthy one)' from "dubh", meaning black. Irish family names are generally taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by O' or 'Mac', meaning 'son of' . In the process of the modern surname development O'Dubain acquired a number of forms in addition ot Kidney and including: Dwane, Devane, Duane, and Downes. If English the origination is probably from 'kiddier', a medieval merchant, and from which we get the modern 'kidding'. Early examples of the surname recording include William le Kydere in the year 1307, Ann Kydney at Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, on May 1st 1593, John Kidner who married Francis Skidwith at St Margaret Pattens in the city of London, on October 16th 1654, and in the Irish church registers the christening of James, son of Richard and Catherine Kidney, on December 30th 1821 at Doneraile, County Cork. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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