This unusual surname, recorded in Church Registers of Scotland and England from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Kynon, Kynen, Kynyan, Kenyon, Keenan and Kennon, is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is an Anglicized form of either of two Old Gaelic sept names: "MacCianain/O'Cianain", son or descendant of Cianain, a personal byname from "cian", melancholy, sad; or "MacFhionghuin", son of Fionghuin, a male given name of great antiquity, deriving from the prehistoric Gaelic "Vindo-gonio- ", "Fair Born, Beloved Son". Finguine mac Drostain was killed in a civil war among the Picts at Monticarno in the year 728. The form "O'Cianain" is also well recorded in the Irish "Annals of the Four Masters"; between 1345 and 1503 no less than eight bearing the name "O'Cianain" are mentioned as historians to the Maguires of Fermanagh, while one Rory O'Keenan was chief scribe of the "Bock of Magauran". In 1542, one William M'Kennane was recorded in Dumfries, and in 1555, a Richard Kennan witnessed a sasine by the abbot of Sweetheart. William Makkynnane, noted in Dingwall (Ross and Cromarty) in 1587, derives his name from "MacFhionghuin". Earlier spellings include: Makkynnon (1536); Makiynnan (1545); and McKynnand (1588). On May 21st 1589, William Kynyan was christened at Greystoke, Cumberland, and on October 11th 1817, Robert Kynon and Elizabeth Finlayson were married at Gorbals, Lanarkshire, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malcolm McKenyn, juror on an inquest held at Drumfrese, which was dated 1367, in "Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morten", Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. 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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