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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.
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    Mary Kathleen Kennedy

    My great-grandfather James Kennedy, born c. 1845-1848 emigrated from Ireland to the US in 1863, when he was in his teens.  Family lore is that he was in the civil war and was "a baker on a prison ship" at some point.  He married Catherine Hackett in 1871, and they survived the great Chicago fire.  On the birth certificates of his children (born in Chicago) his birthplace is listed as "Nean" which I conclude is most likely Nenagh.  He had two younger siblings, Margaret and Thomas, who emigrated around the same time.  DNA of their offspring suggests that they may have been half-siblings, but the three remained close in Chicago.  Only one of his sons survived to adulthood, my Grandfather, also named James.
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    Alisha Kennedy

    I am unsure of my ancestry. Growing up I was always told we were Irish and French but that is the extent of what I know. How would I go about tracing my lineage and finding out? If anyone can help me or at least point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it.
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    Dee Jones

    My paternal grandmother was Kate Kennedy from Ventry Ireland born 1893, her parents were Patrick Kennedy  b. 1846 and Mary Sayers b. 1857? Mary Sayers parents were Thomas Sayers and Margaret Brosnan   My grandmother came to  America and married Harold Jones around 1920. My maternal grandmother was from Killarney b.1885 Mollie Sullivan, her parents were Micheal Sullivan and Mary (Sullivan) Sullivan.  Mollie Sullivan also came to America around 1920 and married my grandfather Daniel Francis Daley
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    My 2x great grandmother was Mary Kennedy born approx 1852 Clare, Ireland. We don't know anything about how she came to Australia. She married a James Augustine Smith in Adelaide, South Australia in October 1880 and she died July 1918 in Adelaide, South Australia. I would appreciate knowledge of her life before she arrived in Australia
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    My 4Xgreat ggrandfather was Thomas Kennedy b circa 1782/1783 in Dublin. He was an Irish Rebel, a Defender, arrested in 1785 for high treason against the Crown, and convicted in Dublin the following year. His coconspirators, were hung. Thomas was spared due to his age (13/14) and transported to Australia on the convict ship Brittania in December 1796,arriving in NSW in mid 1797. I have been unsuccessful in obtaining accurate detail on his parents and would appreciate any information other members may have.
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    Correction Thomas was arrested in 1795 in his family's Waterford Crystal shop on the corner of St. Stephen's Street and Drury Lane.
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    Debby Kennedy

    My great grandfather was William Henry born 1867 or 1868. He married Isabella Hannah Brown. They had a son, William George Kennedy and my dad was William Christian Kennedy. Any information would be greatly appreciated and very excitedly received.
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    My great x 3 grand mother was Sarah Ann Kennedy. She was born in 1831 in County Clare to Laurence Kennedy and Barbara Holland. At some stage she immigrated to Australia, where she married my great x 3 grandfather, James Michael Ryan in Victoria. They immigrated to New Zealand. James drowned in Saltwater Creek, Timaru and Sarah remarried to Andrew Dowling. She died on 8 Feb 1918 in Timaru New Zealand. I am unable to go back any further and would love to find out more about my ancestors and make family connections. Please contact Debi - debij.18@gmail.com
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    Timothy KENNEDY b. 1802 The Spittal Tipperary Town County Tipperary married Catherine McGrath then travelled to Australia about 1840.
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    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
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    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.
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