This interesting name found both in Scotland and Ireland is an anglicized form of the Olde Scots Gaelic Mac Cionaodha. The Gaelic prefix 'mac' means 'son of', plus the personal byname Cionaodha, composed of the elements 'cion', love, and Aodh, fire, (originally the name of a pagan god). This personal name has been variously interpreted as 'Beloved of Aodh', 'Ardent Love' and 'Firesprung'! Further anglicized patronymic forms include Mc Kinn(e)y, McKinie, McKe(a)ney, McKenna and McKinna. In 1513 one, Donald M'Kenye of Kilravock was accused of taking part in a 'hership' i.e. the carrying off of cattle by force, and in 1544 William M'Kinnay, Charter Witness in Wigtownshire, was recorded in 'The Great Seal of Scotland'. In Ireland M(a)cKenny, with the variant form McKenna, (from the Gaelic Mac Cionaoith), was the name of the sept known as 'Lords of Truagh', an ancient County Monaghan territory. Mary McKenny, aged thirty, who embarked from Liverpool on the ship 'Sardinia' bound for New York on May 20th 1846, was a famine immigrant into that city. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ewin MakKenye, which was dated 1500, of the Black Isle in the 'Records of Aberdeenshire', during the reign of King James IV of Scotland, 1488 - 1513. 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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