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Replies: 15

Rabbit Surname Followup

Posted: 22 Jan 2001 3:15AM GMT
Edited: 22 Jun 2001 5:28AM GMT
Dear Gretchen,

In my first email I forgot to give you the web address for the Mormon site where I found the information about Thomas Rabbitt. That address is

I searched under the International Genealogical Index, or IGI as it is known, which is found on the left site of the page, if you decide to try to do some research yourself.

I also meant to email you the origin of the name Rabbitt. The name is taken from the Irish "coinin" meaning rabbit. Coinin, in Irish, is pronounced cuh-neen. It could be that the people so named kept or hunted rabbits for a living in the distant past, and that the name became anglicized when the country was ruled by England for several hundred years.

Below is a short history of the name, which can be found in the book, Irish Families: Their names, Arms And Origins, by Edward MacLysaght, published by Hodges Figgis Co. LTD. Dublin, 1957.


(Mac)Cunneen, (O)Cunneen, Kenyon, (Kinnane)

The fact that Cunneen is never found nowadays with a prefix hides the fact that it represents actually two quite distinct surnames. MacCoinin is that of a literary family of Erris, Co. Mayo. It is anglicized Kenning and Kenyon, as well as Cunneen, and also by Pseduo-translation as Rabbitt. Cunneen, and Rabbitt too, are the forms used in English for the Offaly family of O Coinin. A variant of this is O Cuinin which in turn is used as a variant of O Cuineain, quite a different name in Irish: this is now indistinguishable from O Cuinneain, a surname well known in north Tipperary in its anglicized form Kinnane or Kinane. Here again there is also a Mac form viz., MacCuineain anglice Cunnane. As this is almost exclusively found in north Connacht it is probably basically the same name as MacCunneen of Co. Mayo referred to at the beginning of this note. As the prefixes Mac and O have in the case of this name been entirely dropped there is little except family tradition to indicate to which of these quite distinct septs of Cunneen of today belongs. They both derive from coinin (rabbit) - I do not accept the suggestion that it is from cano, wolf cub. There are two O Coinin septs - of Thomond and Offaly both called Rabbit and Cunneen. That of Thomond is recorded as taking part in the battle of Loghrasha in 1317. Mac Coinin was the sub-chief to O Caithnid (O'Caheny or Canny) in the barony of Erris, Co. Mayo. There are four references to them in The Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachra. Kinnane, in Irish O Cuinneain, is a Thomond name mainly found in north Tipperary with occasional variants Quinane and Guinnane. The latter also occurs in west Clare, where, however, it can be a mis-spelling of Goonane, but is normally a variant spelling of Guinnane, the usual form in Clare. Woulfe derives O Cuinneain and O Cuineain from the forenames Conn and Conan. Father John Kenyon (1812-1869) of Templederry, Co. Tipperary, was a leading figure in the Young Ireland movement of 1848.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Gretchen611 21 Jan 2001 5:16PM GMT 
DaveBoylan 22 Jan 2001 9:39AM GMT 
DaveBoylan 22 Jan 2001 10:15AM GMT 
Gretchen611 3 Feb 2001 3:59PM GMT 
DaveBoylan 5 Feb 2001 5:21AM GMT 
Gretchen611 10 Feb 2001 11:53AM GMT 
DaveBoylan 11 Feb 2001 8:27AM GMT 
Gretchen611 15 Feb 2001 8:25PM GMT 
DaveBoylan 16 Feb 2001 7:38PM GMT 
Gretchen611 17 Feb 2001 1:19PM GMT 
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