Saturday, February 10, 2018

McCain, McKean, McKane DNA Project Update 2018

Mac Eáin family icon

The McCain family DNA project began in the late summer of 2003.  When we began the McCain DNA project many of us had been working on our family history for many decades.  For me, the search began in the 1960s.  I was born in Mississippi and grew up in north Louisiana.  I lived on McCain Drive, near Monroe, Louisiana.  I had many McCain cousins, some famous, such as admirals and historians, etc.  I wish I had paid better attention to my ancient relatives when I began this journey, but isn't that the way it goes often. 

Before we started the McCain DNA Project our family history was a mess.  We had dozens of cousins, that we knew were related, but we did not know how.  The precise details were only partially known.  We had clues, naming patterns, oral histories, etc., from New Brunswick, Canada, to New England, then a small army of McCains across the South.  But, really we could not confirm anything.  It all was too vague, yet, we knew something real was there.  

Our McCain origin myth was also mixed up.  Some accounts had us down as members of the famous Clann Dhónaill, through the line of the tragic Glencoe McCain family.  Others, said we were a native Irish family, part of the also famous Ó Cathain family in County Derry.  

Before the DNA project, there we were, just lost in the dim fog of the past, trying to make some sense of little family stories we all had.  Then came our McCain DNA Project and with it reality, brutal reality, produced by genetic genealogy, via the test tube.  Forensics came to our rescue.    

Our first two participants were myself and a native born Irish McCain from north Antrim, Joe McKane, of Ballywatt, County Antrim.  Jim and I both submitted our DNA samples and waited patiently for the results.  They came in an email from the Family Tree DNA, Ltd, company with whom we tested.  The emails to Jim and I read, 'You have a match.'  And, that was the start of finding out our family's true history.  

From that initial DNA match we were able to methodically progress and learn our history.  There were many surprises.  First, we learned we were not related to the McCains of Clann Dhónaill.  All those stories about us being Highland chiefs, alas, were not true.  Then we found out we were not related to the Ó Catháin family of Ireland.  We did however, confirm the many branches of our family, such as the New England and Nova Scotia, McKeens, who arrived in the New World way back in 1718.  Then we discovered the New Brunswick and Ontario McKanes, were also our cousins.  We had as many Canadians in our family as we did Americans.  

Our last wave of McCain DNA matches connected us to the numerous McCain families in Texas.  In our oral history among the McCains in the South, we often heard the expression GTT.  This is the abbreviation for Gone To Texas.  Starting in the 1830s and especially after the WBTS circa 1865 into the 1880s, many McCain families from the South migrated to Texas.

Our McCain, McKean, McKane cousins in Ireland

As the DNA matches came in over the months and years, we learned that the McCains were connected to east Donegal.  And using the DNA match data we followed the family back to Porthall, Donegal.  The next piece of the McCain history puzzle to fall into place was our DNA connection to a McCain family that originated in the parish of Kilmichael Glassary, in mid Argyll, Scotland.  Thanks to the protective care of the earls of Argyll of Clann Chaimbeul, we located enough primary source data on the McCains in Kilmichael Glassary to fill in a decent history of our McCain family from the early AD 1300s until we migrated to Donegal in the 1500s. 

location of McCain DNA connections in Argyll


By 2017 new DNA techniques have opened up methods of DNA research.  The use of higher level SNP test (single nucleotide polymorphism) allows much more data to be extracted from our Y chromosome DNA tests.  The mutation rates for SNPs are more stable and happen at a predictable rate.  The geneticists are finding new SNPs that allow to research with great precision the time frame of each McCain branch of the McCain shared paternal ancestor and date that connection. 

Magh Gaibhlin castle Porthall, Donegal, where we located William McKean the Soldier

2018 will see even more progress in our McCain DNA Project.  Not only are we working on our McCains circa 1600 to 1850 using new SNP tests, we are also able to look into the distant past with accuracy now.  We have know we are related to the Mac Ailpín families also from Kilmichael Glassary, and we will be able to date the time to the shared paternal ancestor as the SNP results come in and are analysed.

A few members of our McCain family... 

Jim McKane, Ontario, Canada


Frank McKane, Scotland (and California)

Donovan McCain, North Carolina

Joe McKane of County Antrim

Letitia and Ivan Knox, with Bruce McCain and his wife

Joe  and Julie McKane of Belfast

Michael McCain of Italy

Henry McCain and John McCain of Arizona
Conar McCain of Oxford Mississippi

Mervyn and Jean McKean of Porthall, Donegal
Chris McCain of California

Jack and Dot MacKeen of Massachusetts

© 2018 Barry R McCain

Saturday, January 13, 2018

McCain's Corner: Genetic Genealogy When No Paternal Relative Is Ava...

McCain's Corner: Genetic Genealogy When No Paternal Relative Is Ava...: Genetic Genealogy When No Paternal Relative Is Available  County Meath In genetic genealogy surname studies we use the Y chromosome...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

McCain's Corner: Big White Beard Update 30 Dec 2017

McCain's Corner: Big White Beard Update 30 Dec 2017: 30 December 2017 First and foremost... I send a sincere thank you to the many, many, people that have sent me notes of support and pray...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

McCain Family DNA Update 15 July 2017

Gaelic Lord, Dunadd AD1014
There has been a lot of water under the bridge, the DNA bridge that is, since the first McCain DNA match was back in late August of 2003.  Since that time, through a collective effort of many McCain family researchers, we have located our cousins in Ireland, several of us have been over to visit them, and... we have uncovered our family history and our point of origin as 'the McCains' dating back to AD 1290s.  In short, our McCain DNA project have been successful.  

Now to some updates:  one of the interesting facts we discovered is that we share the same paternal ancestry and a cluster of families all from what is now the parish of Kilmichael Glassary, which is located in mid Argyll.  One of these families is well known in Scottish history, the Mac Ailpín family.  Their lore, the primary sources, etc., say they descend from the famous figure of Coinneach Mac Ailpín, King of the Picts.  He is also called the first King of Scots.  

There is much lore an some scholarly disagreements on the nature and facts surrounding Coinneach Mac Ailpín, but there is also a body of factual data on the man.  He was a Gael and king of Dál Riata and inherited the throne of Pictland through his Pictish mother.  The Picts, for those not familiar with north British history, were a group of indigenous Celtic tribes that lived in what is now mid and northern Scotland.  

From the Y chromosome DNA results, it appears he and his sons established a group of ruling families in mid and northern Argyll.  The McCains and McAlpins are just two families of the group, there are several more all with lore and DNA results that connect them to mid Argyll, the Dunadd area, and SNP results point to a date to shared ancestor being circa mid to late AD 800s.   Now the McCains are connected by clan to Clann Lachlainn of Cowal, that is that is from whom they held rights to their lands in Glassary.  The lines of descent are lost to the fog of history and we are only slowly extracting data as the DNA results come in. 

It is possible and it appears that Coinneach Mac Ailpín functioned much like Niall of the Nine Hostages, in that he establish a dynasty and many families actually descend from him.   Niall of the Nine Hostages and his descendants are a much larger group and range from western Ulster, across the province, and then into the Scottish Lowlands.  In the case of Coinneach Mac Ailpín, it is more regionalised to mid and north Argyll, until the 1500s, when there was a migration of many families to western Ulster.   

Other news:  the McCains, i.e. clann Mhic Eain, are also descendants of the Indo-European tribes that migrated into western Europe from the Pontic Caspian Steepe.  The dating of the time frame of this migration has firmed up due to new techniques in extracting viable Y chromosome data from skeletal remains.  Tests on these remains from the Balkans west to Ireland, tell us when and how this migration took place.  Our people reached what is now Ireland circa 2000 BC, or around 4,100 years before present.  This new data supports the historian paradigm of Dr Koch and Dr Cunliffe and their 'Celtic From the West' concept. In short, Celtic language and people have been in Ireland, Scotland, Britain, etc., much longer than the old theories projected.  I will post more on this later as it is a fascinating field of study and their is so much new data out.  

Our McCains in the McCain DNA Project are now doing advanced SNP tests. With these tests we can determine the date of branches of our family and even locate unique haplotypes for each branch.  This allows future researchers to test of a particular haplotype to confirm a connections to a particular family and even to date that connection.    


Friday, April 7, 2017

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Irish Christmas Present, Finding the McCains

day, December 15, 2015

An Irish Christmas Present, Finding the McCains


Mongavlin Castle, Donegal, Ireland
A wonderful read that covers 40 years of travel in Ireland; it includes stories and insights into the relationship between Diaspora and Homeland and reconnecting with one’s cultural roots; it tells the history of Highland Gaels and their migration to Ireland in the 1500s; it is mystery story solved using Y chromosome DNA testing and an excellent guide for families on how DNA testing to locate their family in Ireland and Scotland and uncover their real history.   Available on Amazon in time for Christmas:  Finding the McCains, a Scots Irish Odyssey
 
McKane's Corner, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal
 
 
Ivar Canning & Donovan McCain at the Auglish Standing Stones, Co. Derry

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Burial Stone of Duncan McCain circa 1510

burial stone of Donnchadh Mac Eáin
 
James McKane of Wiarton, Ontario, has commissioned this magnificent art work, which is a facsimile of the burial stone of Donnchadh Rua Mac Ailein, who was one of the first men in our family that used the McCain surname.  In the primary sources in Argyll he is always called by the surname McCain.  He lived circa 1540 to 1510.   He was a Thane in Kilmichael Glassary and made his home at Dun na Muc, which is very close to Dunadd, in mid Argyll. 
 
The inscription is in Latin and reads Thane Hic Iacit Duncanus Roy M'Allen with the clan affiliation written on the top of Lachlan.  This inscription is the literal genealogy of Donnchadh Rua and references his father Ailean.
 
The family as a group began being known by the surname McCain as early as the late 1300s.  In the existing written records the name shows up by the early 1400s just prior to Donnchadh Rua's father becoming the Thane of Glassary.  The reason they were known as the McCains goes back to a complex series of events related to the family in the 1300s.  Eoghan Mac Eáin held the lands in the early 1300s, his descendants officially forfeited the lands in 1346.... but we know from the primary sources they remained on them. Later, continuing in the complex Gaelic political affairs of the day, several descendants of Eoghan Mac Eáin, received grants to the lands in 1436 from the Taoiseach of Clann Lachlainn.  On of these was the Ailean Mac Eáin,  father of our Donnchadh Rua. It was during this time that this family began to be knows as the McCains in the Argyll records.

More information on these early McCains is found in the book Finding the McCains.
 
This art work is 8.5" x 16" and suitable for hanging on your wall or placed on a mantel or bookcase.  It is a clay casting hand carved and made by Jon Sanborn of Laveen, AZ. 
 
This is a must have for all McCains of course, but also to all Highland Scots interesting in the history of Argyll. 

To purchase contact James McKane

Monday, October 5, 2015

William Calvin McCain 1802-1871

We need some help confirm this McCain family.  We think William Calvin McCain is the son of Robert McCain of the Marsh Creek Settlement.  If anyone recognizes this line, please contact me. 



Grandfather Samuel Oscar McCain

Birth: 30 Jan 1869, Birmingham, Jefferson County, AL
Death: 28 Apr 1929, Dallas, Dallas County, TX

Spouse: Ida Giss LESTERBirth: 8 Jun 1870, Calhoun County, ALDeath: 27 May 1924, Dallas, Dallas County, TXFather: Elisha Lockhart LESTER (1847-1905)Mother: Martha A. "Mattie" SULLIVAN (1843-1899)Marriage: 16 Aug 1888, Blue Eye Community, Talladega County, AL

Children: Ada Lurline (1889-1890) Una Pauline (1891-1967) Willie Mae (1894-1977) Forney Lester (1896-1962) UNKNOWN (1901-1967) Gladys Irene (1903-1973) Martha Olivia (1907-1985)
Oscar Leroy "Buddy" (1912-1972)

Great Grandfather William Franklin McCain, Rev.

Birth: 22 Nov 1846, Lincoln, Talladega Co., AL
Death: 10 Dec 1921, Birmingham, Jefferson County, AL
Burial: Halls (New) Refuge Cemetery

Spouse: Elizabeth Olivia ACKER
Birth: 19 Mar 1846,  , , AL
Death: 13 Feb 1925, Lincoln, Talladega Co., AL
Father: Henry Dearborn ACKER Rev. (1813-1856)
Mother: Elizabeth COX (1811-1880)
Marriage: 14 Nov 1867, Lincoln, Talladega Co., AL

Children: Samuel Oscar (1869-1929)
Henry Austin (1871-)
William Acker (1872-)
Flora Alice (1875-1950)
Buren Hermas (1876-1932)

GG Grandfather William Calvin McCain, Rev.

Birth: 10 Jul 1802, Jackson, Madison Co., TN
Death: 12 Jan 1871, Talladega, Talladega Co., AL
Burial: Jemison Cem., Talladega, Alabama

Spouse: Malinda BURNS
Birth: 1805, NC
Death: 1861, AL
Marriage: 1 Jul 1834, Calhoun, AL

Children: Lorenzo Bass “L.B.” (1835-1865)
Susannah Maggie (1837-1911)
Louisa Jane (~1839-1880)
Henry R. (~1841-1863)
Elisa M. (1843-1910)
Theodore Bowden (1844-1912)
William Franklin Rev. (1846-1921)

Other spouses: Mary TAYLOR
Nancy Eleanor FINLEY

Sunday, September 27, 2015

McCain's Corner: BBC Ulster, the Kist o' Wurds program

McCain's Corner: BBC Ulster, the Kist o' Wurds program: Barry R McCain on the Thacker Mt Trail My BBC interview will be on today, evening in the UK, at 1:30 PM (13:30) on BBC Ulster Radio.  Th...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

McCain's Corner: Celtic Life Internation Magazine

McCain's Corner: Celtic Life Internation Magazine: A note to one and all; there is a review of my new book Finding the McCains in the October 2015 edition of Celtic Life magazine. Th...

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)