Join
Log in  | New? Register
Planning a trip to Scotland?

310,488 KENNEDY members around the world

Stay informed about KENNEDY Family online & offline events!

Keep me informed as to KENNEDY Family online & offline events

My KENNEDY family came from?

See one of our recent Ireland101 Tribe Gatherings

KENNEDY family crest

KENNEDY Family History

Ó Cinnéide- anglicised as Kennedy, earlier O'Kennedy, O Kinedy, from root word 'cinn' or head.

A family of this name were a sept of the Dál gCais or Dalcassian tribe, itself possibly a branch of the Déisi. Woulfe in 'Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall' (1923) writes that they descend from Cinnéidigh, a nephew of Brian Boru; however, MacLysaght in the 'Irish Families' series (1980, 1982) gives their eponymous ancestor as Cinnéide, Brian Boru's father.

Originally of Thomond in east Clare, they were pushed further eastward (ironically by their distant kin the Uí Bhriain) in the Medieval period into present northern Co Tipperary, actually coming to dominate the baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond. During almost four hundred years, from the 12th until the 16th century, they were lords of Ormond; they were known as four main branches: Ó Cinnéide Fionn, Ó Cinnéide Donn and Ó Cinnéide Ruadh (fair, brown and red). They held several castles in north Tipperary throughout the period of wars and conflicts, such as at Nenagh and Dromineer.

They occur frequently in the 'Annals' of Ireland, often in a military context. The highest numbers of Kennedy were to be found in County Tipperary right up until the modern period. The name is in the top 20 for all Ireland.

Some Kennedys, however, are of Uí Maine stock, whose territory lay in what is now Co Galway.

MacLysaght says that a branch of the Ormond sept migrated to Co Antrim at the beginning of the 17th century. This brings us to the Scottish Kennedys, whose name is of similar derivation, but whose ancestry, in the opinion of the present writer, is entirely separate from either of the above Irish septs. They were a clan on the south west coast of Scotland, their earliest holdings being around Carrick in Ayrshire. Their name stems from Gaelic 'Cunedda'; the root is 'head'. They appear early in medieval records as MacKenedi; they became very powerful as Earls Cassilis of Culzean Castle. Some bearers of this Scottish name must have crossed the narrow channel to Co Antrim.

A further point is that any connection between the Irish and Scottish Kennedys is purely one of etymology; there is no evidenced genealogical connection.

By the time of Cromwellian Sir William Petty's 1659 'Census' of Ireland, we find Kennedy listed as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the following counties:

Co Tipperary
Barony of Slevardagh, Kennedy 11 (families, for all figures); Lower Ormond, Kenedy 81; Upper Ormond, Kenedy 72; Middlethird, Kenedy 24; Eliogurty & Ikerryn, Kenedy 28; Owney & Arra, Kenedy 9; Clanwilliam. Kenedy 16.

Co Waterford
Barony of Deaces, Kenedy 16; Glanahiry, Kenedy 5; Upperthird, Kenedy 16; Middlethird, Kenedy 11; Galtire, Kenedy 9.

Co Limerick
Conologh Barony, Kenndy & McKennedy 24; McConagh, McKenedy 9; Poble Bryen, Kenedy 5.

Returns for Co Galway are missing.

Co Antrim
Barony of same name, Kenedy 6; Belfast Barony, Kenedy 12; Dunluce, Carey & Kilconway Baronies, Kenedy 18.

In the 1850s 'Valuation' of Irish households by Griffiths, the following counties contain the most Kennedys: Tipperary 1112, Limerick (inc. city) 262, Antrim 258, Kilkenny 232 and Kerry 229.

In 1890 (Registrar's Report) most Kennedy births occurred in counties Dublin, Antrim and Tipperary.

Two Notable Kennedys:

Matthew Kennedy (1652-1735) exiled to France after the fall of Limerick in 1691, he became an influential literary figure there.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) arguably Ireland's most famous son; the first and only, so far, Gaelic Irish catholic leader of the most powerful country in the world. His death, like that of Michael Collins before him, had all the dimensions of a Greek tragedy.

Who have we missed?

Tell us about any famous KENNEDY (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!

MEET

Join the conversation with the KENNEDY tribe

  • Find your KENNEDY ancestor
  • Tell us about your KENNEDY Family
  • Tell us about your KENNEDY ancestors
  • Ask a question about the KENNEDY history
  • Leave a message for KENNEDY family members
Kennedy

Timothy KENNEDY b. 1802 The Spittal Tipperary Town County Tipperary married Catherine McGrath then travelled to Australia about 1840.

Archie Kennedy

You mention, "A further point is that any connection between the Irish and Scottish Kennedys is purely one of etymology; there is no evidenced genealogical connection." That is almost true. My people emigrated from Canna Island, Scotland, to Nova Scotia in 1791. I was surprised to discover that my Kennedy DNA is Dal gCais. I'm left with a mystery - why and when did my Kennedy ancestors go to Canna. Here is my blog on my own family history: http://cannakennedy.blogspot.ca/2014/12/from-canna-to-canada.html

Luna

My great grandmother was Rose Kennedy, she was born in 1885 and married John McAvoy who was born 1882. IF anyone has any extra information on either of them I would appreciate it.

Invite more KENNEDY family members!

Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the KENNEDY tribe.

Log in or Register to invite others
Family Coat of Arms Generator

Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?

Create Crest
LEARN

Discover where the KENNEDY Family members live around the world

0

KENNEDYs FOUND

Explore where tribe members live today!

SHOP

Show off the KENNEDY Family Crest…

Wear your crest with pride...plenty of products to choose from