Welcome to My Geneology Research pages.
The information below was written by John Navin
Please click to see his web site below.
Thank you John, this was so nice of you..
I appreciate all the hard work you have done..
My maiden name is Cunningham.
I have wanted to find out about my family tree for some time now.
I am just beginning to look into my Family history
I will be updating these pages as I find out more information..
(Donegan, Counihan) The surname Cunningham or Conyngham is among the 75 most numerous in Ireland, the estimated number of persons so called in 1954 being 8,550. they are distributed over all four provinces, the majority being found in the Ulster counties of Down and Antrim and in the Connacht counties of Galway and Roscommon. In the former the families in question are for the most part of Scottish origin; in the latter they are native Irish. The original Irish-Gaelic forms O Connaghain and Mac Cuinneagain were first written as O'Cunnigan and Mac Cuinneagain were first written as O'Cunnigan and MacCunnigan. Under the anglicizing influence of three centuries of British occupation many old Gaelic families, having dropped the O or Mac, gradually assumed an English or Scottish name approximating to theirs in sound. Thus Cunnigan became Cunningham. There is hardly another name in Ireland which appears in the Registrar-General's records, voters' lists and so forth in so many different guises. Side by side with the standard form Cunningham, we find Coonaghan, Counihan, Cunnighan, Kinningham, Kinighan, Kinagam, Kinnegan and MacCunnigan in Ulster, while Conaghan and Kinaghan are two of the many variants elsewhere. Counihan and Coonaghan, however are properly the anglicized forms of the north Munster name O Cuanachain. The true Irish Cunninghams trace their descent from two sources in Connacht, the Gaelic forms given above denoting son (mac) or descendant (O) of Connagan, which is a diminutive of the personal name Conn. One branch stems from Fiachra, brother of the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages are father of the last pagan King of Ireland, and was located in Co. Sligo; the other is a sept of the Ui Maine (often called Hy Many), a wide spread group of septs centred in counties Galway and Roscommon of which O'Kelly was the most important. As is not unusual in the case of smaller families which, notwithstanding the destruction of the Gaelic order after 1603, refused to accept English rule, no arms are on record at the Office of Arms in Dublin Castle for O'Cunnigan or MacCunnigan. The well-known Cunninghams arms are those of a Scottish family, several branches of which settled in Ireland in the seventeenth century and became influential in the north. There is a tradition that these Cunninghams were originally Irish settlers in Scotland: be that as it may they were in Scotland as early as the eleventh century, since their arms and their motto "over fork over" are based on an incident which occurred about the year 1050 when the Cunninghams' ancestor saved the life of Malcolm Canmore, afterwards King of Scotland, by covering him with hay and thus concealing him from MacBeth's pursuing forces. The most distinguished Irishman of the name was probably Timothy Cunningham (d. 1761), the antiquarian, member and benefactor of the Royal Irish Academy. Mention may also be made of Henry first Marquess Conyngham (1766-1832), who was an Irish representative peer and a man of influence in England in the reign of George IV, and also of John Cunningham (1729-1773), the Irish actor and poet. Some of the Cunninghams in Ulster acquired their surname in quite a different way from those dealt with above. There was a minor sept of MacDonegan in Co. Down, one of whom, John Donegan or MacDonnegan, was Bishop of Down from 1395 to 1412, while earlier in the fourteenth century Florence MacDonnagan was Bishop of Dromore. In this area the name was first corrupted to MacConegan and later some of these MacConegans changed this to Cunningham in imitation of the Scottish settlers. Others, however, retained the more correct modernized form Dunnigan, and Dunnigans are still to be found in Co.. Down. This name is not to be confused with Donegan or Dongan - O Donnagain in Irish - an important sept of Muskerry, Co. Cork, whose territory was around Rathluirc. Thomas Donegan (1634-1715), last Earl of Limerick (of the first creation) Governor of New York from 1683 to 1691, was the most distinguished man of this name.
The name Cunningham in Ireland was brought to the country by settlers from Scotland who arrived into Ulster Province during the seventeenth century. The native Gaelic O'Connagain and MacCuinneagain Septs adopted Cunningham as the anglicized form of their name. There are a number of variants including Counihan and Conaghan.
Cunningham take their name from the district of Cunningham in northern
Ayrshire. The land of Kilmaurs of that area was granted by Hugo de
Moreville, Constable of Scotland to a vassel named Warnebald in the 12th
century and it is from his descendants that the Cunningham family
originate. Harvey de Cunningham of Kilmaurs was amoung those who fought
against the King of Norway at the Battle of Largs in 1263 and for his
bravery his possession of Kilmaurs was confirmed by Alexander II. Robert
the Bruce granted further lands and through the marriage of Sir William
Cunningham to Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Dennieston the Cunninghams
extended their possessions further to include Glencairn. His grandson Sir
Alexander de Cunningham was created Lord Kilmaurs in 1462 and then Earl of
Glencairn in 1488 by James III. However he died with James at the Battle
of Sauchieburn in that year. William, 3rd Earl was captured at Solway Moss
but released in exchange for support of the marriage of Mary Queen of
Scots to King Edward VI of England. Alexander, 5th Earl of Glencairn was a
supporter of the Reformation and responsible for the destruction of the
chapel at Holyrood, his Protestant sentiments fuelled the longstanding
feud between the Cunninghams and the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglinton.
However the 9th Earl returned to the Stewart side leading the rising of
1653 for Charles II. The rebellion was defeated but he was made Lord
Chancellor after the Restoration in 1660. The 14th Earl, John was a friend
of Burns and on his death in 1791 Burns wrote "Lament for the Earl of
Glencairn". On the death of the 15th Earl who died without issue in 1796
the Earldom became dormant although the undisputed claimant to the
chiefship today descends from the Cunninghams of Corsehill. Other
important cadet branches are the Cunninghams of Caprington, Craigends and
Below is the Cunningham Tatan / Kilt