Thursday, August 20, 2015

The History of the McCains

Mongavlin Castle, Donegal, where the McCains settled in Ireland
 
Amazon is running a sale on Finding the McCains, A Scots Irish Odyssey this week for the excellent price of $14.60.  The book is a biography of the McCain family of Dunamuck, mid Argyll, Scotland.

This is a good time for those who have not yet purchased the book to do so.  There are many histories circulating on the internet and in publish books on the history of this family, but unfortunately most are in error in all the basics.   Finding the McCains, A Scots Irish Odyssey is the result of ten years of extensive Y-DNA testing and the Latin, Gaelic, and Lallans, primary sources from mid Argyll. 
 
 
'Finding the McCains,' is an account of one Mississippi McCain’s 40 year odyssey to find his family in Ireland. Senator John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabeth Spencer, both include a short history of the Mississippi McCain family in their respective memoirs 'Faith of our Fathers' and 'Landscapes of the Heart.' This history is a romantic tale of Highland Scots who supported Mary Queen of Scots and who fled to Ireland after her downfall in 1568.
 
The search for the McCains became a mystery story with clues, false turns, many adventures, and then ultimate success through Y chromosome DNA testing. In 2008 the McCains were reunited with their family that remained in Ireland, after 289 years of separation. The McCain history includes people and events familiar to readers of Irish and Scottish history; Redshanks, Iníon Dubh, Mary Queen of Scots, the Earls of Argyll, the Ulster Migration, and the Scots-Irish, are all part of this family’s story. Faint memories of this past were told for generations in Mississippi and as the research progressed the facts behind these memories were uncovered.
 
Another theme in the book is the Scots-Irish. Contemporary histories about the Scots-Irish present stereotyped and romanticized accounts of this dynamic group. 'Finding the McCains' reveals a more complex history and shows the cultural conflation common in Scots-Irish popular history. 'Finding the McCains' is also a genetic genealogy how-to guide for people of Irish and Scottish ancestry.
 
 

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Known Anglicised Forms of Mac Eáin

The current known anglicised forms of our Mac Eáin family are.... McCain, McCann, McKane, MacKean, McKean, and McKeen. 
 
All these surnames are proven forms of the Mac Eáin family of Kilmichael Glassary, mid Argyll.   All are 'common' anglicised forms of Mac Eáin with the one exception of McCann.  McCann is normally the anglicised form of Mac Canna, but the DNA results proved that occasionally McCann is an anglicised form of Mac Eáin.  This came about in the early 1800s and reflects the census taker's spelling of the name.    
 
We also know that most of the families in our clan group have used several anglicised spellings.  The Marsh Creek McCains for example have used McKeen, McKean, and McCane, prior to 1820, and post 1820, used McCain. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Finding the McCains, a Scots Irish Odyssey On Sale Today

Amazon has my new book on sale for the whackingly good price of $14.75 today. A biography, a mystery story solved via forensic DNA testing, a travelogue of adventures in Ireland and the UK. Notables in the book include Phil Robertson, Muhammad Ali, and a real Bean Sí. And you will learn some interesting aspects of Irish and Highland Scot history.

Link:  Finding the McCains

McCain's Corner: SNP Testing, Summer Sale from Family Tree DNA... O...

McCain's Corner: SNP Testing, Summer Sale from Family Tree DNA... O...: Some good news from Family Tree DNA regarding SNP testing.  They are running a special  summer sale of interest to those in the R1b groups...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

McCain's Corner: Mo Shinsir Gaeil

McCain's Corner: Mo Shinsir Gaeil: an scríobhnoir i nDún na nGall Bhí suim agamsa i mo shinsir Gaeil nuair a bhí mé thart ar 12 blain d'aois, nuair a bhí mé ag léamh ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

McCain's Corner: Autosomal DNA Test Sale

McCain's Corner: Autosomal DNA Test Sale:   Autosomal DNA tests utilize DNA from the 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal DNA is inherited from both parents. Ther...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

McCain's Corner: Mid Argyll Kinship Group

McCain's Corner: Mid Argyll Kinship Group: Mid Argyll circa 1570 (c) Ulster Heritage 2015 Several years ago Y chromosome DNA results revealed that a large group of families f...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jim's Report from Donegal

Jim McKane and his wife Suzanne are on a tour of Ireland right now and are in the heart of McCain Country.  Here is his travel update.
 
 
Hello Everyone - well, we arrived on time Tuesday; rented a car and away we went on the wrong side of the road!! Only scared a few drivers and of course Suzanne!
We've spent our two night at Mervyn & Jean McKean's (pronounced McKane) in Lifford, Co. Donegal as I have driven Suzanne nuts with churches, cemeteries and family tree talk. Yesterday I stood on land farmed by my gggrandfather's brother in Co. Tyrone.
Today we are off to the west coast to see Slieve League - 2000 ft cliffs into the Atlantic; then we'll head south to do a circle of Ireland in the next few days.
Keep well
Jim (& Suzanne)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The MacAlpins and the McCains

Note to all the Clann Mac Eain folk, this is very interesting and on-going research in our origins pre 1000 AD.  We share paternal ancestry with the Mac Ailpín family from the Loch Awe area.  It is possible they are the descendants of Coinneach Mac Ailpín, King of Picts, first King of Scotland.  This research is being done by an independent historian, George Chandler.  I am still working on the McCains circa 1400 to 1700 in Argyll myself.  The Mac Ailpín family was not a Highland clan per se, they were more just a family with a history.  If these mid Argyll Mac Ailpíns do turn out to be descendants of Coinneach Mac Ailpín, it will make a lot of Highland Scottish history fall into place.


Kilmichael Glassary Parish, Mid Argyll

The Mid Argyll Kinship DNA Project is a genetic genealogy research project on a group of families that share the same paternal ancestry, primarily from the parish of Kilmichael Glassary in mid Argyll.  Two of the families in the group are the MacAlpins (Mac Ailpín) and MacCains (Mac Eáin).  The chronology of the common male ancestor of these two mid Argyll families is currently under study.  Members of both families are doing the "Big Y" DNA test.  The BIG Y is a direct paternal lineage test and explores deep ancestral links.  It tests both thousands of known branch markers and millions of places where there may be new branch markers.  Both the Mac Ailpín and Mac Eáin families share SNP FGC19435 and the projected chronology to the TMRCA is circa 500AD.  The basic question is, are these MacAlpin families connected to the historical king from mid-Argyll, Coinneach Mac Ailpín (810 AD – 858 AD).  Coinneach Mac Ailpín was the first king of Scotland and founder of a dynasty which ruled Scotland for much of the medieval period.  This would mean the entire Mid Argyll Kinship group descends paternally from this old Dal Riada family.

The MacCains go back to a pivotal figure of Giolla Chríost who was a lord in Kilmichael Glassary in the 1200s.  He had three sons. One of these sons, Giolla Padraig, was the progenitor of the Cowal Clann Lachlainn.  His other two sons, Giolla Easpuig and Eoghann, had lands in Kilmichael Glassary in mid Argyll.  The descendants of Giolla Easpuig and Eoghann eventually lost their lands in Glassary to the Scrymgeour family.  In the late-1200s, Giolla Easpuig’s line failed to produce a male heir and their lands went to Ralf of Dundee by marriage. The lands of Eoghann were held by his son named Eáin, which passed to his sons by the 1340s.   In 1346, the Scottish Crown forfeited the Glassary lands of Eáin’s sons to Gilbert of Glassary, who was a grandson of Ralf of Dundee.  So by the late 1300s, Gilbert of Glassary had acquired, technically that is, much of the lands of the descendants of Giolla Easpuig and Eoghann, the two sons Giolla Chríost.  However, Gilbert of Glassary produced no male heir and in the 1370s all of these lands went to Alexander Scrymgeour, who had married Agnes, the daughter and heiress of Gilbert of Glassary.

How much control the Scrymgeour family had over the lands that had belonged to Giolla Easpuig and Eoghann Mac Giolla Chríost is questionable.  At this time, Glassary was the epicenter of the Redshanks society. Redshanks were a warrior class in high demand as mercenaries in Scotland, Ireland, and Europe.  They were a law unto themselves. They were supported by the tenants of the lord, a practice called “sorning.”  One sixteenth-century Scottish observer complained that the Glassary Redshanks were, “wild men who cannot be coerced or punished by secular judge or power.”[1]  The local lore says, and it is probably correct, that the descendants of Eáin son of Eoghann Mac Giolla Chríost took the “clan” surname of their cousins, the Mac Lachlainns of Cowal, and remained on their lands in Glassary.  It is also remembered that the Scrymgeours, quite wisely, made no changes and did not require rents, per se.  Given the remoteness of mid Argyll and the warlike nature of the local Gaels, the Scrymgeours showed wisdom.  The status of land possession in Glassary becomes clearer when a “McCain” family appears there in the 1430s and we are told they are of Clann Lachlainn.

In 1432, a John M’Ean (Eáin Mac Eáin) appears in the Glassary writs selling a tract of land at Kilmun in Cowal to John Scrymgeour, son of Alexander.  In the writs, we are told John M’Ean’s uncle is Giolla Easpuig Mac Eáin, showing us they both were known by the same surname.[2]  Then four years later, in 1436, Ailean Mac Eáin received a grant to extensive lands in Glassary which included many of the lands that had been held by Giolla Easpuig and Eoghann, the two sons of Giolla Chríost.  Ailean Mac Eáin’s son, Dunnchadh Rua, is also listed as “McCain” in the 1400s.  In other words, a McCain family appears on the scene in the 1430s in control of the lands held by Giolla Chríost’s two sons in Glassary.  Alastair Campbell of Airds, the Officer of Arms of Scotland and historian, noticed the appearance in Glassary of these McCains in his book The History of Clan Campbell.  When writing about the sale of land by John M’Ean to Sir John Scrymgeour he noted, “the lands of Kilmun presumably held by the MacIans or MaKanes, whoever they may have been.”[3]  Mac Phail, the editor of the The Highland Papers, also noticed this McCain group and observed they were probably descendants of Giolla Easpuig Mac Giolla Chríost.[4]   I would agree with this observation, but suspect they were the descendants of Eáin the son of Eoghann Mac Giolla Chríost. This is why they were known in Gaelic as the Mac Eáin family.  The salient point is that, from the early 1430s onward, there was a McCain family and Ailean Mac Eáin and his son Dunnchadh Rua were part of this family and they were connected to the Scrymgeour family through multiple marriages and land transactions.

Much of the history can be deduced from the lands themselves.  Several of the Glassary lands that Eoghann and his brother Giolla Easpuig held are the same ones granted to Ailean Mac Eáin in 1436 and later held by his sons.  Put into a historical context, the 1400s were a golden age for the local Gaelic powers in mid Argyll and Eáin Mac Lachlainn’s (Taoiseach of Clann Lachlainn) grant to Ailean Mac Eáin reflects this.  There may have been official land resignations, but the reality was Clann Lachlainn still retained control of much of their ancestral lands in Glassary and the 1436 grant confirms this.

By the late 1500s, McCain was fixed as a surname. This was almost certainly done to distinguish them as the line of Ailean Mac Eáin.  This use of the surname was noticed by local historian Herbert Campbell in the 1922, volume 38 edition of The Genealogist.  As he put it, “it is practically sure that two of the three Johns nicknamed ‘reoch’ belonged to the Dunadd line, so that it looks as though the family were playing with the nickname.”[5]  “John Reoch” was Campbell’s way of anglicizing Eáin Riabhach.  He was correct. The name was being used more at that time.  An example of what Herbert Campbell meant is seen in the name of Giolla Easpuig Mac Eáin Riabhach Mhic Dhonnchaidh Rua Mhic Lachlainn, who appears in the Lamont Papers in 1612.  This derbhfine name would be Archibald McCain in today’s English.  In 1570, Alexander M’Ean of Glassary held the lands at Bormolloch.   Bormolloch is the farmstead to the immediate east of Creag an Tairbh.  Significantly, Alexander M’Ean is listed in the Scrymgeour family records showing yet another connection between these two families.[6]  One Campbell tacsman listed in the year 1603 is “John M’Donald V’Ean, alias M’Loauchlan.”[7]  In Gaelic, his name was Eáin Mac Dónaill Mhic Eáin.  The “alias M’Loauchlan” means also known as Mac Lachlainn.  In 1705, another example of the multiple surname use is recorded in the Argyll justiciary records, with “Duncan Vc Lauchlane alias McEan.”[8]  These are examples of a clerk feeling the need to clarify a McCain’s clan affiliation.

The Mid Argyll MacAlpins are more difficult to locate in the primary sources in the 1400s, but in the 1500s they appear and are linked to the Ailean Mac Eáin family.  On 6 May 1573 John McDonche VcAlpine (Eáin Mac Donnchaidh Mhic Ailpín) was a witness to a sasine given by Alexander Scrymgeour at Kirnan, Kilmichael Glassary parish.  Alexander Scrymgeour was father of James Scrymgeour who was married to Aifric Nic Dhonnchaidh Rua (a descendent of Donnchadh Rua Mac Eáin).   This established a connection in the primary sources between the Mac Ailpín and Mac Eáin families.  Next we have, on 4 January 1608, in the Poltalloch Writs recorded at Inveraray castle, the Earl of Argyll addressed a precept of clare constat to Duncan McAlpine (Donnchadh Mac Ailpín) in Garbhallt.[9]  Garbhallt was part of Donnchadh Rua Mac Eáin's lands.  By the 1600s, there are many Mac Ailpín families that show up in the records, often living in the same settlements as the McCains other descendants of Ailean Mac Eáin. The MacAlpin families that participated in the DNA test were from the Loch Ederline area, which is on the southern end of Loch Awe within minutes of both Garbhallt and Bormolloch.

While the research is still on going, the DNA results of the mid Argyll Mac Ailpín family suggests they may be the historical Mac Ailpín family and their paternal line provided other clan progenitors in mid Argyll. The ancestral origins results for the family shows connections to central Scotland and no deep connections to Ireland, which  points to an indigenous Cumbric or Pict progenitor of this family.  News and research updates of the mid Argyll Mac Ailpín families will be posted on the Mid Argyll Group’s blog page.



 
[1] Heather Frances James, Medieval Rural Settlement, a study of Mid-Argyll, Scotland, (PhD thesis, University of Glasgow) 124.
 
[2] JRN MacPhail, 175.
 
[3] Alastair Campbell, The History of Clan Campbell, Volume I, From Origins to Flodden, (Edinburg, Edinburg University Press, 2000) 127.
 
[4] MacPhail, 225,226.
 
[5] Harwood,”Poltalloch Writs”, 71.
 
[6]  J Maitland Thomson, ed., Inventory of Documents Relating to the Scrymgeour Family Estates 1611 (Edinburgh: J Skinner and Company, 1912), 24.
 
[7] Innes, Parochiales, 165. Taken from the Brendalbane Charters.
 
[8] John Cameron, ed., The Justiciary Records of Argyll and the Isles 1664-1705, Volume 1(Edinburgh, The Stair Society), 75.
 
[9] Ibid., 142.
 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finding the McCains, on sale this week

Irish history, Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scots, the McCains, a memoir, biography, and a mystery story solved by forensics.   Finding the McCains is quite a tale.  For those of you who have not purchased yet, the book is on sale this week on Amazon.  Link below.

Barry R McCain with Austin Rock, on top of Loughcrew, Co Meath

 

Link to purchase:  Finding the McCains

 
 
'Finding the McCains,' is an account of one Mississippi McCain’s 40 year odyssey to find his family in Ireland. Senator John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabeth Spencer, both include a short history of the Mississippi McCain family in their respective memoirs 'Faith of our Fathers' and 'Landscapes of the Heart.' This history is a romantic tale of Highland Scots who supported Mary Queen of Scots and who fled to Ireland after her downfall in 1568. The search for the McCains became a mystery story with clues, false turns, many adventures, and then ultimate success through Y chromosome DNA testing. In 2008 the McCains were reunited with their family that remained in Ireland, after 289 years of separation. 
 
The McCain history includes people and events familiar to readers of Irish and Scottish history; Redshanks, Iníon Dubh, Mary Queen of Scots, the Earls of Argyll, the Ulster Migration, and the Scots-Irish, are all part of this family’s story. Faint memories of this past were told for generations in Mississippi and as the research progressed the facts behind these memories were uncovered. Another theme in the book is the Scots-Irish. Contemporary histories about the Scots-Irish present stereotyped and romanticized accounts of this dynamic group. 'Finding the McCains' reveals a more complex history and shows the cultural conflation common in Scots-Irish popular history. 'Finding the McCains' is also a genetic genealogy how-to guide for people of Irish and Scottish ancestry.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hugh McKean 1753 Ballyrahane, Co Antrim, Ireland

Ancestor notice:  The McCain family DNA project is looking for male direct descendants of Hugh McKean born 1753 Ballyrashane, Antrim, Northern Ireland, died 1849 Mercer County, Pennsylvania for DNA testing.   We would like to determine if Hugh was descended from Samuel McKean/McKeen who died in 1784 in New Hampshire or from an as yet unknown McKean/McKain who died in Antrim, Northern Ireland and had a son, William of Ballywatt. We have a high level DNA test from a known descendant of William of Ballywatt.  Hugh's descendants include McKeans of Iowa (Emmet, Jones and Jackson Counties) and Pennsylvania (Mercer and Lawrence Counties).

If you are a descendant of Hugh McKean, born 1753, born in Ballyrashane, County Antrim, Ireland, please contact the McCain Family DNA Project. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

McCain's Corner: Barry R McCain on the JT Show

McCain's Corner: Barry R McCain on the JT Show: I was interviewed today by JT from the JT show on Mississippi Supertalk.   This network goes over the entire state of Mississippi and parts ...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chris McCain of San Diego

on left, Chris McCain
Chris McCain is a member of the Board for The Friendly Sons of St Patrick, in San Diego. He is seen here participating in their St Patrick's Day events and parade.


Chris McCain and daughter Marie


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Henry David McCain with Senator McCain

It is always a good thing when McCains can meet and congregate with other members of the family.  Henry David McCain, who is a participant in the McCain DNA project and has Mississippi roots, recently had an opportunity to meet with Senator John McCain, who also has Mississippi roots. Henry David McCain is the father of Cara McCain a co-administrator of the McCain DNA Project.


Henry David McCain with Senator John McCain

Friday, March 6, 2015

McCain's Corner: St Patrick Day Gifts

McCain's Corner: St Patrick Day Gifts: As a writer I can say I have only had good service from the omnipotent Amazon.  Not one issue has come up and I can focus on the actual wri...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

McCain's Corner: Finding the McCains

Posted some photos from the book Finding the McCains.





McCain's Corner: Finding the McCains: Finding the McCains, is an account of one Mississippi McCain’s 40 year odyssey to find his family in Ireland.  Senator John McCain and hi...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Finding the McCains

 

Finding the McCains






Finding the McCains, is an account of a man’s 40 year odyssey to find the McCain family in Ireland.  Senator John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabeth Spencer, both include a short history of the McCain family in their respective memoirs Faith of our Fathers and Landscapes of the Heart.  Their history is a romantic tale of Highland Scots who supported Mary Queen of Scots and who fled to Ireland after her downfall in 1568.  The search for the McCains became a mystery story with clues, false turns, many adventures, and then ultimate success through Y chromosome DNA testing.  In 2008 the McCains were reunited with their family that remained in Ireland, after 289 years of separation.

The McCain history includes people and events familiar to readers of Irish and Scottish history; Redshanks, Iníon Dubh, Mary Queen of Scots, the Earls of Argyll, the Ulster Migration, and the Scots-Irish, are all part of this family’s history.  Faint memories of this past were told for generations in Mississippi and as the research progressed the facts behind these memories were uncovered. 

The Y chromosome DNA results revealed that the McCains of Mississippi, which include Senator John McCain’s family, are the same family of Wallace and Harrison McCain, the founders of Canada’s McCain Foods, one of the most successful corporations in the world.  They are also the same family as James McKeen who organized the 1718 fleet that began the great Ulster Migration to the English Colonies.  All these families are paternally related and they all descend from one Gaelic man named Mac Eáin that lived in Kilmichael Glassary parish, in mid Argyll, in the Scottish Highlands, in the 1400s.

The book tells of the author’s many trips to Ireland in search of his distant cousins there.  There are anecdotal stories, some humorous and others involving “famous” people; such as, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Mary Coughlan (Irish Tainste or vice president), Cindy McCain (wife of Senator McCain), Seán Mac Stiofáin (1970s head of the IRA) , Alan Heusaff (WW II German officer in Dublin who later became president of the Celtic League), and Muhammad Ali.  There is even an encounter with a Bean Sí (faerie woman) on the windy cold hill of megalithic stone ruins at Loch an Craoibh.  All presented from the perspective of a native Mississippian.

Another theme in the book is the Scots-Irish.  Contemporary histories about the Scots-Irish present stereotyped and romanticized accounts of this dynamic group.  Finding the McCains reveals a more complex history and shows the cultural conflation common in Scots-Irish popular history.

Finding the McCains is an excellent read for all interested in Irish and Scottish history and is an how-to guide for those interested in how-to guide for those who would like to use genetic genealogy to locate their family in the old country and recover lost family history.

To purchase from Amazon: Finding the McCains

To purchase from Ulster Heritage directly send US $20 (postage paid) to:
Ulster Heritage
PO Box 884
Oxford MS 38655
USA