Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Genealogy Tour of Ulster

(Several McCains are participating in this tour)

October Genealogy Tour – Northern Ireland & Dublin October 7-16, 2011

This October Time Travel will be conducting an informal exploratory genealogy tour in Northern Ireland and Dublin.  We will have hands on research time, although not required and tour the North of Ireland as well as Dublin. This tour will be a “get to know” tour for researching your roots in the North of Ireland with some very special highlights to educate you on the Irish and the Irish that emigrated to America, Canada and Australia as well as the local lore of the North. We are very excited and privileged to have some very special guests to join us on our journey. We hope you can join us!

Highlights of the Tour:

  • City Weekend Dublin!
             Book of Kells – Glasnevin Cemetery – Guinness- Traditional Irish Night
  • St. Patrick’s Trail – County Down
  • Belfast City & the New PRONI (Public Records Office Northern Ireland)
  • Walk the Walls of Derry with Historian Ronan Macnamara
  • Explore a special project on the US Marine’s WWII Beech Hill Connection where we will call home for a night.
  • Explore County Fermanagh – Visit & Lunch with The Duke of Abercorn
  • Center for Migration Studies – Lectures with Dr. Brian Lambkin & Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald.  Evening Dinner with special surprise guests.
  • Explore Donegal along the Lough Eske. Special guests: Storyteller Keith Corcoran and Local Historian and Genealogist Jonathan Kelly
  • Names being researched: McCain, Smith, McGrady, Gunn, Ferris Add your names to the list! We’d love to have you along!

Again, we hope you can join us.  We have a limited number of seats left for this tour. Please inquire directly to our Director, Ginger Aarons Garrison at info@timetraveltours.com or phone 503-454-0897 for more information and pricing.

All tours by Time Travel are all inclusive of Transportation, Lodging, Lectures, Admissions, Gratuities and Food.  Airfare & Alcohol excluded.*

Monday, August 8, 2011

The New Brunswick McCains

(article from the Donegal Democrat Newspaper 2000)
SAINT JOHN (Canada) - Potatoes and the Irish love for farming have established a quiet, riverside New Brunswick town as the centre for one of the greatest food empires in the world. Harrison McCain, board chairman of the international McCain Foods Ltd., says this aspect of the Irish character lies behind the success of this famous New Brunswick family.
Harrison McCain
'Definitely permeating the Irish - and also permeating the McCain family - is a love of the land,' Mr. McCain said from his office in Florenceville. It is an inherited love for 'owning the land, and being in an agricultural environment and trading farm produce and farming and that kind of thing,' he said. 'That's what our ancestors came from, and they definitely had a liking for it.'
McCain Foods and its subsidiaries have more than 50 food-production facilities operating in 10 countries, on four continents. And the McCain Group also includes companies engaged in transportation, seed, animal feed, farming, heavy equipment manufacturing and other areas. It achieved $4.1-billion in sales in the 1996 fiscal year, and employed more than 12,500 people. Worldwide, McCain Foods has the capacity to turn out 346,500 kilograms of potato products every hour, company officials say, making this the world's largest French-fry manufacturer, with over 30% of the world market.
With his company operating several French-fry plants on the British Isles, Mr McCain can't get over the fact that in the early 19th century, when the potato was the staple diet of Irish farm labourers, each man gobbled up to 6.3 kg of spuds per day. 'My God, that's a lot of potatoes,' he said with a laugh, ' I wish they'd get them doing it again!'

The Diamond, Castlefin 2002 - Click to view
The McCain history in New Brunswick began when Mr. McCain's great-grandfather (William Andrew McCain) along with his brother James and sister Jane, arrived here in the 1820s. The two brothers had come from just north of Castlefin and their sister from Ballindrait, Lifford.
There is no record of the three McCains ever owning any property in Ireland. It is the great-grandson's belief that they worked as tenant farmers on someone else's estate. 'They wanted to get hold of some cheap land and own the land for themselves.' Within a few years of working as labourers, all the McCains in New Brunswick had obtained 100-acre land grants in Greenfield, near present-day Florenceville.
'The next progression, I would say, was that they were trading farm produce - you know, hay, grain, sheep, cattle, horses, whatever they could trade.'
The small village of Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada is the international headquarters of McCain Foods Limited and McCain Foods (Canada)
For nearly a century, hay was the biggest cash crop on farms along the upper St. John River, some of which operated on barely more than a subsistence level. The picture changed in the 1920s, with the introduction here of an Irish tradition - potato farming. Instead of the tiny, spade-cultivated family potato plots which were the hallmark of pre-Famine Ireland, the New Brunswickers applied their farm machinery to grow potatoes on a mass-production scale. 'It certainly was a turning point for the area,' Mr. McCain said. 'Up until that time, farming that was done was chiefly, I would call it, living off the land.

'The original farming vocation was: you had a small farm, and you worked the farm and you kept a cow or two and some chickens and maybe a few sheep. You had pasture land to feed them in the summertime and cut some hay for the wintertime, and you killed some of your animals to eat. And you picked up what spare work you could in the wintertime cutting pulp or whatever for a little cash. But it was living off the land...There were certainly some cash trades, but I'd say the advent of the potato business, after it got to a considerable volume, was the most important cash crop that most farmers had ever had.'

And it was the potato, he said, that eventually launched the McCain family into its national and international trade. 

McCain Foods co-founders, Harrison (left) and Wallace (pointing) during the grand opening of their first McCain plant in Florenceville in 1957
McCain Foods Ltd. became incorporated in 1956 and began making frozen French fries in Florenceville the following year. The company entered the British market in 1965 and Australia in 1968. It made its first entry into the United States in 1969, the same year in which it opened its first English French fry plant.
The company has also gone into frozen vegetables, desserts, frozen pizzas, juices, meats, cheese products. It has food processing and distribution plants in the United States, Argentina, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Spain, with an emphasis in many of these plants in French fries and potato specialties.

Article extract from : The luck, and pluck, of the McCains By Mac Trueman
McCain Photographs: © McCain Foods Ltd.
Castlefin Photographs: © Finn Valley Web Design
The McCain brothers' great-great grandfather was born in Meenahoney just outside Castlefin and emigrated to Canada in 1823. For some years, Mr Wallace McCain has been trying to trace his family tree and during his brief visit to Donegal he was shown the original farmhouse where his ancestors were born.

It is the third time that Mr. McCain and his wife Margaret have visited Donegal, but on this occasion they brought with them their two sons, Scott and Michael, their daughters Martha and Eleanor, seven grandchildren and three in-laws.

'My wife decided we would make this trip as part of my 70th Birthday celebrations but no doubt I'll get the bill,' Mr McCain quipped. He acknowledged that Castlefin had changed much for the better since he first visited Donegal in 1990. 'When we were here last fall we noticed a remarkable change to Castlefin from our first visit. The place is looking really well,' Mr McCain said.

Mrs Margaret McCain, who has enjoyed a successful political career in Canada, serving a term as Lt. Governor of Ontario, said that the local townspeople deserved the utmost credit for the improvement works carried out in recent years. 'Castlefin looks just like New Brunswick where Wallace's ancestors first settled when they arrived in Canada. They started working in the potato business, first as farmers and later as exporters,' she explained.

McCain Foods, founded by Wallace and his brother in 1957, has grown to become a multi-national business which employs almost 14,000 people across the world. On their arrival in the Diamond, the McCain family were taken on a walkabout tour of the village during which they were shown the remnants of the local narrow gauge railway which ran through Castlefin, and a famine pot.

Music was provided by members of the McElhinney family and Sean O'Neill while a dancing display was provided by members of Terry Lafferty's School of Dancing as Mr McCain and his family enjoyed lunch.

Books and flags were exchanged between Mr McCain's grandchildren and local schoolchildren before the McCain family boarded their coach once more, this time bound for Dublin and London before flying back to Toronto. 'We sailed over from Canada on the QE2 and the journey was just perfect. The weather was wonderful, just like it is here today. Do you get weather like this over here all the time?' Mr Scott McCain asked.

Article and photograph © The Donegal Democrat 2000

McCain DNA Update, the 111 Marker Upgrade

The McCain DNA Project is asking all members of the 01 McCain family upgrade their DNA kit to the 111 marker level test.  This upgrade will allow a better understanding of the time to the shared common ancestor of the various branches of the McCain family.  To date, we know that one or more McCain men left mid Argyll to settle in Taughboyne parish in east Donegal.  The exact date of this migration is not known, but we do know that a large group of men did migrate from the area where the McCains were living in Argyll to Taughboyne parish in early Autumn of 1569.  There were other groups that followed them in the 1570s until the mid 1590s.  The McCain family is appear in paper records in Taughboyne parish in 1630. There was no influx of mid Argyll men from mid 1590s until post 1630, so it appears the McCain family were already living in Taughboyne parish by 1600.

The 111 upgrade will allow us to see if all the McCain branches that have been located descend from the McCain men that have been located in Taughboyne parish in 1630.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Mid Argyll Kinship Group

above, DNA results link the McCains to Kilmichael Glassary in mid Argyll

As most of our clan now, especially those who are participants in our DNA project, the McCains are part of the paternally related Mid Argyll Kinship group.  The families in the group are Duncan (Mac Donnchaidh), Henry (Mac Eanruig), McAlpin (Mac Ailpín), McCain (Mac Eáin), McDonald (Mac Dónaill), and MacLea (Mac an Leagha).  There has been considerable progress made in located primary sources records on this family circa anno domini 1430 to 1600.  The surnames in the group are not 'clan' surname, but rather are surnames taken from the normal patronymic customs in Argyll during this time. During the important 16th Century surnames were not fixed and clan surname were not in common use.

I have set up a blog to post news about the kinship group.  Link is here:

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