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Origins of the Kennedy surname

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What does the name Kennedy mean?

The Kennedy surname originates in Scotland and Ireland. It is believed to be an anglicisation of the Gaelic name 'O Cinneide', and refers to a 'descendant of someone named Cinnedidh'. There are two large independent Kennedy families that are hypothesised to be unrelated. The Irish Kennedies are a royal dynasty stemming from the father of the high king of Ireland Brian Boru, the Scottish Kennedies are a lowland family who have played a pivotal part in Scottish history.

Alternative variations of the name Kennedy

Kennedy, Kenedy, Kennedie, Kennety, Kennady

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Kennedys live?

In 1921, most Kennedys lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Kennedys

How common is your surname?

209th most common surname in the UK

We have 153,000 records for the Kennedy surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Kennedys most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Kennedys.

What are the most common Kennedy first names?

  • John
  • James
  • Mary
  • Margaret

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Kennedy family members

Common jobs for Kennedys

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Kennedys in 1921
Domestic Servant






General Servant




Common Male occupations for Kennedys in 1921
Coal Miner


General Labourer








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