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About the study

This is a place holder for this One-Name Study profile page.

The surname Keena has long been associated with my area of Westmeath in Ireland. My own family have lived near Ballymore in Westmeath for as long as we can remember. Although my own family tree goes back to circa 1770, our family is known to be buried in local graveyards predating this. 

The name Keena has historically been pronounced Keen-a, with an  emphasis on the 'a' syllable. Previous studies of the name Keena have not enlightened the situation a whole lot, namely studies by Fr.Patrick Woulfe in 1923 and later by Edward McLysaght. Fr. Woulfe stated that it was either from O'Cianan (Keenan) from Fermanagh or O'Cianaigh (Keaney) from Leitrim. McLysaght suggested MacCionnaith or MacCionnaodha, which is McKenna from Monaghan. Both of them were unsure and had no evidence to support their suggestions.

I have decided to do some research myself by studying where the name Keena and it's variants are traditionally found  and therefore try to see if history can give some clues as to the origin of the name

Variant names

Keena, Kinna, Kena, Keenagh, McKeena, McKinna 

Name origin

Although the spelling of the name Keena appears to have originated in Ireland, my historical research points to Scotland as to the origin . Keena appears to be a sept of Clan Donald , namely the MacDonalds of Glencoe or Loch Aber. It is more than likely an attempt to anglicize the original name Mac Iain Abrach, (son of John of Aber) My historical research suggests that the first Keenas came to Ireland around 1545 with Donal Dubh McDonald in his attempt to reclaim 'Lordship of the Isles' from the king of Scotland. The Keenas may have been recruited by Henry VIII (who was then an ally of Donal Dubh) as 'Redshanks' mercenaries and posted to lands confiscated after the Silken Thomas rebellion in Ireland. Subsequently , the Keenas may have been recruited by Thomas LeStrange  and Thomas Radcliff, 3rd Earl of Sussex , who were campaigning in Ireland in the 1550s.

Historical occurrences of the name

I have used used the Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837 and the Griffith Valuations 1850s mainly in my research. 


I have undertaken a Y 67 DNA test. I have been confirmed as being a descendant of Clan Cholla. In the Clan Cholla DNA website project I am in the MacDonald 3 subgroup. I am also a member of the Clan Donald DNA project.