Monday, November 28, 2011

Irish Trip of Bruce B McCain

 Bruce B McCain's note to me about his recent trip to Ireland and his visit to many of our Irish cousins. 

 My wife and I had a fun trip to Ireland!  We did research in Dublin,
Belfast, and Omagh, but the highlight of the trip was the time we spent near
the Stranorlar/Lifford area of Donegal.  We spent a very pleasant time with
Ivan Knox and his wife, Letitia.  Thank you for giving Ivan a "heads-up"
about our arrival.  He had done some on-line searching of the Presbyterian
Church in St. Johnston and came up with a marriage announcement for a
William McKain and Anne Roulston for 1862.  Based on that finding and your
findings regarding Taughboyne Parish, Donegal, he felt that my "people" were
from the  Traughboyne area.  He gave me the address of his website, and I
will see what more information I can glean.  That night, I also did some
searching on the Donegal Genealogy Resources website and found 5 McKean pew
holders at the St. Johnston Church in 1867.

Bruce B McCain with Mervyn and Jean McKean of Porthall
The next day we went to the Hall Green B&B and spent some time with the
owners, (William) Mervyn McKean and his wife Jean.  I had also invited his
cousin Ian McKean to come over and chat.  We had a wonderful conversation,
and they gave me copy of an old family photo.  Their recollections of the
McKean ancestry don't go much farther than the late 1800s.  That evening,
Mervyn invited Alice and me to their church (the Ballylennon Presbyterian
Church) for the Celebration of Praise Harvest Service (they said it was the
biggest service of the year).  There we met another cousin, Joe McKean and
Pastor Wilson who is also the pastor of St. Johnston Presbyterian Church.
We also met John Hamilton who told us he had a book on the Hamilton
genealogy written by another John Hamilton; he said he would drop a copy off
at Pastor Wilson's house the next day.  The next day, Mervyn drove us over
to St. Johnston Church and we met with Pastor Wilson.  I had hoped to look
at some of his church records, but we was not too crazy about the idea. We
had a fun talk, he copied the pages out of the Hamilton book dealing with
the McKeans, and I took some pictures of a McKean gravestone in the church's

Bruce B McCain, his wife Alice, and Ivan and Letitia Knox
I'm not sure how much progress we made on the McCain/McKean genealogy, but
we sure met some wonderful McKeans.  Have any of the Donegal McKeans had
their DNA analyzed?  Ian said he would be willing to have his analyzed (I
would pay for it), and I got the feeling that Mervyn was also interested.

Thanks again for all your help in preparing me for our trip and for your
contacts with Ivan.

Bruce B.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sandy McKeen of Hawaii

Harold R McKeen III, or Sandy as he is known to his friends.   Sandy is the lucky McCain, he lives in Hawaii.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Joe McKane, Glasgow, Scotland

Dr Joe McKane of Glasgow, Scotland, is pictured here with his beautiful wife Julie on his arm.  Joe is a distinguished and well known physician in Scotland.  His line of McCains migrated from the St Johnston, Donegal, area to Scotland in the 1800s.  We all originally go back to the McCain, or Mac Eáin, family of Kilmichael Glassary Parish, mid Argyll.

Jack and Dot McKeen

Jack McKeen and his lovely wife Dot are in the photo above.   Jack is of the New England and Nova Scotia branch of the family.   The McCains in that part of the world had an oral history of a historical McCain named 'William McKean the soldier' who was an early McCain in Ireland.  It took a lot of research and a lot of help from the DNA results, but eventually that early 'McKean' was located in records in Ulster in the early 1600 living exactly where the McCains originally settled.   

Monday, November 21, 2011

Garth Duncan

One of our distant cousins that was located via the McCain Family DNA Project is Garth Duncan of the Isle of Skye, Hebrides, Scotland.  His people are from Argyll.  His surname in Gaelic is Mac Donnchaidh, which was one of the surnames used by the descendants of Donnchadh Mór Mac Eáin (Duncan McCain) in the 1500s.   Gaelic surnames in mid Argyll were not fixed and changed several times from patronymic customs.  The DNA test confirms we are the same family, though does not provide a neat and tidy generation to generation pedigree.  What we do know however, is this family used both Duncan and McCain as surnames and we are a DNA match to each other.  Garth is seen above in his normal day wear.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

McCains And Tartan

Barry R McCain

I am often asked about tartans and is there a McCain tartan, etc.   No, there is not 'McCain' tartan.  The use of family tartans was a recent development in Gaelic society and took place long after our family left Argyll.  Family tartans as they are used today came about in the 1800s.  Prior to this time there were no clan or family tartan in general.  There were colours and patterns favoured in a district and so there was some sense of people in an area using the same tartan.

For those McCain who would like to use tartan, I suggest any one that you like.  To reflect our history I like several of them, the Ulster tartan, which dates to the late 1500s, early 1600s, then any of the Black Watch, Argyll, tartans.  Historically we were connected to the Mac Lachlainn clan, so any of the Argyll Mac Lachlainn tartans have historical value.  We were also allies to the Campbell family of Argyll, so their basic Campbell of Argyll tartan historically important also.  

The Ulster tartan I mention is very nice, it was found on the body of a Gael in a bog in County Derry, Northern Ireland, in the 1950s.  There are two versions, one is a faded version then the other is the colours restored to their original forms.

I am wearing a 'MacDonald' tartan in the photo above.  Like many McCains, I assumed we were 'Clan Donald' before we did the research to locate our actual history.  But, I love this particular tartan, and so I wear it.  

Any McCains having photos of themselves sporting a kilt or tartan dress, please email me the photos and I will post them.