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 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Waxhall North Carolina McCains

The McCain family DNA project is seeking Waxhaw North Carolina origin McCains to participate in DNA testing.  The project is using Y chromosome DNA testing and results to organize the family's history from the immigrant ancestor to the present.  This McCain family descends from two McKean brothers, Alexander and Hugh, that settled in the Donegal township of the PA colony circa 1719-1721.   The project needs more Waxhaw McCains to determine whether the branch descends from Alexander or Hugh McKean.  The current data suggests it was from Alexander McKean through his son Alexander McKean II who lived in the southern part of the Marsh Creek settlement, just south of the Pennsylvania border, in north Maryland. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Scots-Irish: Tim Clarkson & Viking Age Strathclyde

The Scots-Irish: Tim Clarkson & Viking Age Strathclyde: Tim Clarkson's new book on Viking Age Strathclyde  is now available and highly recommended.  Strathclyde and the Anglo-Saxons in th...

Monday, September 29, 2014

McCain Deep Ancestry

There are several DNA projects researching the deep ancestry of the Mid Argyll Kinship Group to which the McCains belong.  This kinship group share paternal ancestry and is indigenous to central Scotland and includes several families from mid Argyll; some of the surnames in the group are, Mac Ailpín (McAlpin), Mac Artair (McArthur), Mac Eanruig (Henry), Mac Eain (McCain), Mac Donaill (McDonald), Mac Donnchaidh (Duncan), Mac an Leagha (McLea), Mag Aoidh (Gay) along with several names that are harder to discern their original Gaelic form, Machlan (possibly Mac Lachlainn), Gray (probably from the nickname Glas, meaning "grey."  Most of these surnames are not clan surnames, but rather surnames taken in the 1400s through the 1500s, from traditional Gaelic patronymics.

The group shows no deep ancestry in Ireland and outside of Scotland it has more DNA matches in Wales, which suggests a Cumbric origin for the kinship group.  Cumbric is a term for the indigenous Celtic people that were native to much of Scotland and historically spoke the Cymreag language.  The Cumbric population of Scotland became Gaelic speaking in the early medieval period. Cymreag is a P-Celtic language, whereas Gaelic is a Q-Celtic language. As Scotland was formed into a country as we know it in the modern sense, the Cumbric population, became Gaelic speaking.

Cumbric ancestry in Argyll is not unusual. Several Gaelic clans in Argyll have lore that claim Cumbric ancestry.  Three prominent ones are Clann Chaimbeul (the Campbells), Clann Eanruig (the Henrys), and Clann Neachtáin (the MacNaughtons).  

The group has a unique Y chromosome DNA haplogroup designated as R-S1051.  They are also called the 9919 A-1 group, so called because of loci, 459 = 9-9, the YCA II = 19-19, and 640 = 12.  Their 485 locus is also unusual and runs from 485 = 13, or 485 = 16 (the norm for R-L21 is 15).

The Y-Chromosome projects researching this group are:

Mid Argyll Grouphttp://www.familytreedna.com/public/MidArgyllKinshipGroup/
9919andMultiRecLOH http://www.familytreedna.com/public/RecLOH/
R-S1051http://www.familytreedna.com/public/R-S1051/

Sunday, September 28, 2014

McCain families in Scotland 1432-1610

Map of the McCain families in Scotland circa 1432 through early 1600s. 

The McCains in Ireland

The map shows locations of the McCain families in Ireland in the 1800s.  The families represented here have participated in the DNA project and have been confirmed as 'our' McCains.  The blue areas represent higher concentrations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The DNA of McCain

Here is the link to the results of the McCain Family DNA Project.  A summary: the 01 McCains are the Mac Eain family of Glassary of Clann Lachlainn, the 02 McCain family is linked to County Cavan, Ireland, the 03 McCains are the Glencoe and Ardnamuchran Mac Eain families of Clann Dhónaill, the rest of the McCains listed include several smaller Scottish groups and several larger Irish groups.  There is also one Manx origin McCain family.

Link:  McCain Family DNA Project Results

Monday, September 1, 2014

McCain's Corner: DNA Genetic Genealogy Sale

McCain's Corner: DNA Genetic Genealogy Sale: All the DNA projects I administer and assist with, use Family Tree DNA labs in Houston, Texas.  Why?  Well, they are the best, they have the...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hance Hamilton McCain

This is Michael Axel McCain, who is a descendant of Hance Hamilton McCain (born Marsh Creek settlement 1763 and died in Mississippi in 1840).  Michael's line of descent is from John Milton McCain, a son of Hance Hamilton McCain.  John Milton McCain married Mary Turnbow and the family lived in Webster County, Mississippi.  This line goes back to Hugh McKean, born in Ireland circa 1690+/- and died in 1748 in the Marsh Creek settlement in the PA Colony.  Michael was born in Rome, Italy.