Keeney / Family History
The Keeney ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The name Keeney is often a variant of the names Keane and Keene. These names are derived from the two great septs of O'Cathain. The early anglicized form of the name was O'Cahan, but in modern times the forms Keane, Kane, O'Kane, MacCloskey and MacEvinney are most often used. The families of Keenaght and Coleraine were a powerful and important sept. Once established there they retained their ascendancy in the County, which is now County Derry, until they were ruined by the Plantation of Ulster. Many of the Sept appear in the Annals from the year 1170 onwards. The MacCloskeys of County Derry are another branch of the family, being descended from Closkey O'Kane. Another branch anglicized their name as MacEvinney, their ancestor being Aibhne O'Cathain. The Keeney family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Keeney descendants.