Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thomas McKean The Signer

Thomas McKean
 Next on the agenda is Thomas McKean The Signer of the Declaration of Independence.   He is often linked to our McCain family, but this is in error, as we are not related to his family.  Again, this data came out way back in 2004 when several of his descendants participated in the McCain DNA Project.  The results proved that there is no paternal connections to his family.  So, many books that report this are just wrong. 

His line is interesting however.  From the DNA matches they have they seem to be native Irish and certainly a distant link to the area south of Dublin, in the Wicklow Mountains.  Another fascinating fact was discovered in the DNA testing, the family of Thomas McKean the Signer is the same as Alexander McCaine, the Southern antebellum Methodist minister and writer.  That McCaine family we know is from County Cavan, near the village of Virginia.  A fascinating McCain family, but no relationship to our McCains. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Clan Donald and the McCains

I have been absent from posting and other duties of late due to my mother being in hospice and passing away; slowly things are returning to normal and I will take a moment to answer a persistent question that shows up in my email weekly.  

The question...  Are The McCains Connected to Clan Donald?

Well, this is an easy one to answer as Joe McKane and I discovered the facts the first few months of the McCain DNA Project.  The answer is No.  That is a different McCain family, the DNA results were very conclusive.  The Clan Donald McCains are in no way related to us.  The Clan Donald McCains are in fact Norse in origin and we are typical Gaels.  One can tell this by the DNA Haplogroup which shows up in the test.

Our McCains are connected to a Mac Lachlainn family of Dunadd in mid Argyll.  They are a historical family that began using the surname Mac Eáin circa 1450 AD.  Mac Eáin is anglicised phonetically as McCain, McKane, McKean, McKeen, McKane, etc. 

We did find the Clan Donald McCains in the test.  Their are two branches, one from Ardnamurchan and one from Glencoe were both were located and both participated in our DNA test.  They match each other (as they should), but do not match our mid Argyll McCains.  Our mid Argyll McCains are the Mac Eáin family of Kilmichael Glassary and were a  very distinguished group, but lessor known than the Clan Donald McCains. 

That is the bare naked science of it.  It is there in our paternal DNA and the results can be views on several website which have posted the results. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1607 McCain

Redshank circa 1607

Photo is of Irish archaeologist and actor, Dave Swift, in a recent BBC production portraying a Scottish Redshank in Ulster.  There are eye witness accounts of the Redshanks in west Ulster dressed in the iconic kilt, or féileadh mór.  This is how one of our McCains would have looked at this time. The sword is the Highland style two handed sword called a claíomh mór.  The coat of mail was still in wide use with Redshanks and the helmet is a morion, usually of German or Spanish manufacture. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

William McCain the Soldier 1630

Mongavlin Castle;  copyright 2012 James McKane
Above is a recent photo of Mongavlin Castle, near Porthall, Donegal.  It is here that the first McCain appears in the written records in Ireland.  His name in English was William McCain the Soldier.  His name is in the 1630 muster roll and is written in a phonetic rendering of his name in Gaelic which was Illime mcKaine.   He is unique in that memory of him was kept alive by our McKeen branches in New England and Nova Scotia.  For the record, he was a swordsman.  Mongavlin Castle was the residence of Fionnuala Ní Dhónaill, better known in Irish history as Iníon Dubh, until 1610.  Many of the families that Iníon Dubh brought to Mongavlin were from mid Argyll.  Photo courtesy of Jim McKane of Wiarton, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Joe McKane and Jim McKane In Kilmichael Glassary

A photo taken just a few days ago of Dr Joe McKane of Glasgow and Jim McKane of Wiarton, Ontario, at the original homeland of the McCains in Kilmichael Glassary, mid Argyll, Scotland.  The are by the burial stone of Donnchadh Mór Mac Eáin, who was the first one of our family to take the surname Mac Eáin, which is anglicised as McCain, McKane, McKean, McKeen, etc.

With luck Jim will give us a full account of his trip over.  Both Joe and Jim are participants in the McCain DNA Project.  

Sadly  the burial stone has weathered greatly in the last 130 years. Many think that it is acid rain that has caused the rapid deterioration in the stone.  Fortunately, the stone was surveyed in 1875 and we have the notes and line drawing of it taken during the survey.  The text of the stone was completely legible in 1875, but parts of the writing and ornamentation are now faded.