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Last Name Kennedy Origin


The Kennedy family is one of the most well-known and influential families in the United States. From John F. Kennedy's presidency to Robert F. Kennedy's advocacy for civil rights, the Kennedys have left an indelible mark on American history. But where did the Kennedy last name come from? In this article, we'll explore the origin and history of the Kennedy last name, tracing its roots back to Ireland and Scotland.

Irish and Gaelic Origins

The Kennedy last name has its origins in Ireland. The name is derived from the Gaelic O'Cinneide, which means "helmet head" or "ugly head." The O'Cinneide family was part of the Dál gCais tribe, which was one of the most powerful tribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages. The tribe was based in County Clare, which is located in the western part of Ireland. The O'Cinneide family was known for their military prowess and their ability to lead armies into battle.

Scotland and Clan Kennedy

While the Kennedy last name has its roots in Ireland, the family also has ties to Scotland. In the early 14th century, a member of the O'Cinneide family named Gilbert moved to Scotland and changed his name to Kennedy. He became a member of the Clan Kennedy, which was one of the most powerful clans in Scotland. The Clan Kennedy was based in Ayrshire, which is located in the southwestern part of Scotland. The clan was known for their military prowess and their ability to defend their land against invaders.

Migration to the United States

The Kennedy family migrated to the United States in the mid-19th century. Patrick Kennedy, who was born in Ireland in 1823, was the first Kennedy to come to America. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts, which would become the home base for the Kennedy family in the United States. Patrick Kennedy worked as a cooper, which is someone who makes barrels and casks. He eventually became a successful businessman and was able to provide for his family.

Political Influence

The Kennedy family has had a significant impact on American politics. John F. Kennedy, who was the 35th President of the United States, is perhaps the most well-known member of the family. He was elected in 1960 and served until his assassination in 1963. During his presidency, he was known for his efforts to promote civil rights and his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Robert F. Kennedy, who was John F. Kennedy's younger brother, was also involved in politics. He served as the Attorney General under his brother's administration and later ran for President himself. He was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

Family Legacy

The Kennedy family's impact on American society extends beyond politics. The family has also been involved in philanthropy and activism. The Kennedy Foundation, which was established in 1946, provides funding for organizations that work to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The family has also been involved in environmental activism, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. leading efforts to protect natural resources and combat climate change. The Kennedy family's legacy continues to inspire people around the world.


The Kennedy last name has a rich history that spans centuries and continents. From its origins in Ireland and Scotland to its migration to the United States, the Kennedy family has left an indelible mark on history. Whether through their political influence or their philanthropic efforts, the Kennedys have made a lasting impact on American society. And while the family has faced its share of tragedies, their legacy continues to inspire people around the world.