This name McKINNEY is numerous in Tyrone and Antrim where some families so called are descendants of Scottish immigrants, MacKinney being a branch of the clan MacKinnon; in some cases, too, Scottish MacKenzies have become MacKinney. Early records of the name mention John Mackynnay, who was documented in Cray, Kirkcudbrightshire in the year 1546. Ferquhard M'Kynnie was heir to the lands of Levinchullein in Bute in the year 1662. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, an influx of settlers arrived under the patronage of Elizabeth I of England, and colonized the country beyond the 'Pale', the area around Dublin that was the only part firmly under English control. At the same time groups of Presbyterian settlers were encouraged to migrate from Scotland to Ulster, thus establishing the distinctively Scottish surnames of Ulster. During the long centuries of English domination, Irish surnames were crudely Anglicized either phonetically or by translation. In the 19th century, political repression and famine combined to force many Irish people to seek other countries in which to live. Large numbers emigrated to the United States, where strong emotional ties to Ireland are still preserved in many families, while others found themselves transported, willingly or otherwise, to Australia, often after having first tried to make a living in England. Irish surnames are now very widely dispersed, and are common in England as well as in Ireland, the United States and Australia. The name in Gaelic was MacCionaodha meaning 'the son of Cionaodh'. The name has many variant spellings which include MacKinna, MacKinney and MacKinnie. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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