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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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Jean Niemi

My great grandmother was born in Ireland, she was married in MA. in 1867 to my great grandfather Alexander Cook from Ontario. Alexander farmed next to his father and brothers, in 1871 or so, his father John Henry Cook moved his family to Arkansas, supposedly for cheap land after the civil war. Alexander and several other brothers moved to MI. Alexander and Catherine finally ended up living in the Iron Range of MN. On Catherine death certificate her parents were listed as John Kinney and Catherine (no maiden name).


John Kinney Sr. DOB 1805, Born in Castlera Parish, County Roscommon, Ireland. Married Mary McCue DOB 1814 Born in County Roscommon, Ireland. Married in 1829. Emigrated to Baltimore, Maryland, USA John Sr. with his first born son Thomas in 1848. Mary followed with her 5 other children in1849. Sailing from Liverpool to Baltimore, early fall 1849, on a “coffin ship”, Sailors Bridge, arriving in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on Christmas Eve 1849. Their son Martin Kinney died during the voyage and was buried at sea. John Kinney Sr. Died 12/17/1888, in Ensley Center, Michigan, USA. His wife Mary McCue Kinney Died 7/16/1891 in Ensley Center, Michigan, USA. Both were buried at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Ensley Center, Michigan, USA.


For KVKinney, the preceding message wiped out my O fada. The Gaelic sept is O Cionnaoith.


For KVKinney. Kinney is listed by R.E. Matheson in 1901 as a synonym of Kenny. In all probability Kinney from Roscommon would be for Cionnaoith, the numerous sept of Cos Roscommon Galway.


My Great Great Grandfather was John Kinney of Roscommon, Parish Lissonuffy. Born in about died in 1863 in Minnesota, USA


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