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KINNEY Family History
Mac Coinnigh - anglicised as Kinney. Two origins have been suggested for this surname: 1) that of an old Irish sept of Tyrone and Fermanagh; 2) a variant of the Scottish clan name MacKinnon, according to MacLysaght in 'Surnames of Ireland' (1985) and, in fact, he gives this origin first for Kinney. MacKinnon is Mac Fhionnghinn in Gaelic, the root being 'fair one', and one would need to see evidence of MacLysaght's classification, as the root words for these two names are quite distinct.
Ó Cionaodha, Ó Cionnaoith - anglicised Kenny, Kinney & c., earlier O Kenaith, O Kenny. P. Woulfe in 'Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall' (1923) gives the root 'fire-sprung', though this is conjectural. He also gives the form Cionaodha first for Kinney. Ó Cionnaoith is the usual Irish form of the numerous and widespread Kenny. The sept were mainly of Cos Roscommon and Galway, but spread also through central Ireland.
Mac Cionnaoith/Mac Cionaodha- usually anglicised MacKinn(e)y, MacKenn(e)y, MacKenna- similar root to no. 2, according to Woulfe. A sept of Monaghan, but also in Roscommon, and thus some transference with no.2.
Of possible relevance is also Ó Ciannaigh/Ó Caoinnigh- usually angl. Keen(e)y, Kean(e)y, a Leitrim name partially absorbed by Kenny.
Listed as a 'Principal Irish Name' in Sir William Petty's '1659 Census' there are:
In Co Offaly 9 families of Kyne listed in the Barony of Coolistowne.
Griffith's 'Valuation' of property, 1847-60, shows most Kinneys in Co Down (12), Derry (4).
For Kenny, see the Kenny Page on this website. For those Kinneys who are Ó Cionnaoith, they're better off without the arms often ascribed to Kenny/Ó Cionnaoith which are not illustrated here: i.e. 'per pale or & azure, a fleur-de-lys between three crescents counterchanged'. These are in fact the arms of an English Kenn(e)y (anciently Kenne) family from Somerset who arrived in Ireland in the person of Sir Nicholas Kenny, Escheator to Elizabeth 1st, and settled, coincidentally, in the Roscommon heartland of the O Kennys! The arms were registered at Ulster's Office by this English official in 1571. Many are they who have fallen into the error...
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