Humanities › History & Culture Cunningham: Surname, Meaning, and Origin Share Flipboard Email Print Getty / Javier Fernández Sánchez History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated February 04, 2020 The Scottish surname Cunningham has more than one possible meaning or etymology: A place name from the Cunningham area in the Ayrshire district of Scotland, which, in turn, got its name from the words cunny or coney, meaning "rabbit" and hame, meaning "home" (rabbit's home).Another possible translation is that the name derived from cuinneag, meaning "milk pail" along with the Saxon ham, meaning "village."An Irish surname adopted from the Scottish by bearers of Gaelic Ó Cuinneagáin, meaning "descendant of Cuinneagán," a personal name from the Old Irish personal name Conn, meaning "leader" or "chief." Cunningham is one of the 100 most common surnames in Scotland. Surname Origin: Scottish, IrishAlternate Surname Spellings: Cunnyngham, Konningham, Koenigam, Cunningham, Coonaghan, Counihan, Cunnighan, Kinningham, Kinighan, Kinagam, Kinnegan, Maccunnigan, Conaghan, Kinaghan Where the Cunningham Surname is Found According to WorldNames public profiler, the Cunningham surname is most commonly found in Ireland, especially the Donegal, North East, and West regions. Outside of Ireland, the Cunningham surname is most popular in Scotland, followed by Australia and New Zealand. The surname distribution maps at Forebears puts the greatest density of people with the Cunningham surname in Northern Ireland, followed by Jamaica, Ireland, and Scotland. Famous People with the Surname Cunningham Andrew Cunningham: British admiral of World War IIGlenn Cunningham: American distance runnerMerce Cunningham: American dancer and choreographerRedmond Christopher Archer Cunningham: the only Irishman to receive the Military Cross on D-DayWalter Cunningham: NASA astronaut and Lunar Module pilot on the first manned Apollo mission (Apollo 7) Genealogy Resources for the Surname Cunningham Cunningham Irish Clan: A website devoted to providing historical content on the Cunningham surname and serving as a platform to connect Cunningham individuals around the world.Cunningham Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Cunningham surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Cunningham surname query.Cunningham Family DNA Project: This Y-DNA project includes over 180 members interested in using DNA testing to help prove a family connection between Cunninghams and related surnames when a paper trail cannot be established.FamilySearch: Explore over 2.5 million results, including digitized records, database entries, and online family trees for the Cunningham surname and its variations on the FREE FamilySearch website, courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Cunningham Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Cunningham surname.DistantCousin.com: Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Cunningham.The Cunningham Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Cunningham surname from the website of Genealogy Today. References Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967.Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.MacLysaght, Edward. Surnames of Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1989.Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.