This interesting surname is of Old Gaelic origin, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Cionaodha", composed of the Gaelic prefix "Mac", son of, and a personal name composed of the elements "cion", respect, affection, and "Aodh", the name of a pagan god of fire. The name is chiefly found in Scotland as MacKenna, MacKinna, MacKinney and MacKinnie, particularly in Glasgow, but is also found in Ireland in the Tyrone, Fermanagh area, where some of them are of Scottish descent. The name first appears in records in Scotland inthe mid 15th Century (see below), while other early examples of the surname include William M'Kinnay, a charter witness in Wigtownshire in 1544, and John Mackynnay of Cray, Kirkcudbrightshire, recorded in 1546.Alexander M'Kinnie was retoured heir of Normand M'Kinnie of Knokdorie in the lands of Rosneyth in 1609. In the south end of Arran, the natives "genteelly narrowed the more open vowel sounds by crimping the lips", hence, Arranese M'Kinyie and Galwegian M'Kinnie. John McKinney, aged 24 yrs., arrived in New York on April 30th 1846 as an Irish famine immigrant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nevin McKenze, which was dated 1473, in "Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer (1473 - 1566)", during the reign of King James 111 of Scotland, 1460 - 1488. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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