This noble and distinguished name is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic (Scots and Irish) personal byname "Cinneide" or "Cinneidigh", a compound of the elements "cinn" meaning "head", plus "eide", translating variously as "grim" or "helmeted". Cinneide was the nephew of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, (1002 - 1014), and it is from him that the great Kennedy sept of Ormond, (Counties Kilkenny and Tipperary), claim descent. The surname O Cinneide came into being in Ireland in the 11th Century, the Gaelic prefix "O" indicating "male descendant of". The "Annals of the Four masters" record an O Cinneide, Lord of Tipperary in 1159. A branch of the family settled in Co. Wexford and from them sprang John F. Kennedy, President of the U.S.A., (1961 - 1963). The first recorded Scottish namebearer appears to be Gilbert Mac Kenedi who witnessed a charter in Melrose circa 1165 - 1170. (The Gaelic prefix "mac" means "son of"). The Scottish Kennedys are by remote origin Irish Gaels. In 1296 one, Alexander Kenndey was Canon of Glasgow, and Duncan Kennedy, provost of Aberdeen, 1321 - 1322, was the first recorded of the name in the north east. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Kennedy, rebellion leader, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of Galloway, Scotland", during the reign of William the Lion of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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