Recorded as Kinsella, Kinsell, Kinsley, Kynsillaghe, and Kinshela, this interesting surname is of Gaelic (Irish) origin. It is a developed form of the Gaelic byname "Cinnsealach" meaning proud. It is one of the few genuine native Gaelic surnames without the prefix Mac or O'. The territory of the Kinsella sept comprised most of the barony of Gorey in the northern part of the modern Co. Wexford, and it is in that part of Leinster they are chiefly found today. The district was formerly called the Kinsellaghs. Many of the sept acquired the name MacEdmund, but this is now obsolete. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), whilst Aeneas Kinsella, was a member of the Supreme Council at Kilkenny in 1646, and Bonaventure Kinselagh was an officer in Kavanagh's infantry regiment in King James 11's army in Ireland. Thomas Kinsella (1822-1884), was born in Wexford and emigrated to America, and became editor of the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle". He has been described as "a splendid example of an emigrant Irish boy, rising to wealth and honoured position in the country of his adoption". A Coat of Arms granted to the family is silver, with a red fess between two red garbs in chief and a black lion passant in base. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Enna Cinsealach, the son of the King of Leinster. This was dated 1170, in the "Ancient records of Leinster", during the reign of King Rory O'Conor, last native High King of Ireland, 1166 - 1175. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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