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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

Where did the Irish Cain family come from? What is the Irish Cain family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cain family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cain family history?

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Cain originally appeared in Gaelic as O Cathain.

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The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Cain were encountered in the archives: Cain, Caine, Kane, Kain, Cahan, O'Cahan, Kean, Keane, O'Keane, Ceane, Cean, Kahan, O'Kean, O'Kane, O'Kaine, Kaine, Keann, Cainn, Cainne, Kainn, Cahann, O'Cain and many more.

First found in Derry, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cain research. Another 281 words(20 lines of text) covering the year 1196 is included under the topic Early Cain History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Cain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Cain family came to North America quite early:

Cain Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Christopher Cain or Cayne who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1639, died in 1653, he had two sons, Jonathon and Nathaniel
  • Claes Jansz Cain, who landed in New York in 1647
  • Charles Cain settled in Virginia in 1654

Cain Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Cain, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763
  • Peter Cain, who landed in North Carolina in 1764
  • Ernst Cain, who landed in America in 1780

Cain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Cain, who arrived in America in 1803
  • Robert Cain, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Michael Cain, who landed in America in 1808-1809
  • Percival Cain, aged 19, arrived in New York in 1812
  • George Cain, aged 32, landed in New York in 1812


Cain Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. Barnabas Cain U.E who settled in Home District, [Niagara], Lincoln County, Ontario c. 1783
  • Mr. Barnabas Cain U.E who settled in Canada c. 1783
  • Private Isaiah Cain U.E (b. 1737) who settled in Yonge [Toronto], Ontario c. 1783 he enlisted in 1763 served as part of Captain Richard Rea's Company of New Yorkers from Dutchess County, he died in 1813
  • Mr. John Cain U.E who settled in Canada c. 1783
  • Mr. John Cain U.E who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783


Cain Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Richard Cain settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1800
  • Mary Cain from county Kilkenny was married at St. John's, Newfoundland in 1813
  • Joseph Cain in Greenspond, Newfoundland in 1819
  • James Cain settled in King's Cove, Newfoundland in 1821
  • Michael Cain, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833


Cain Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Martin Cain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Porter" in 1839
  • Margaret Cain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Porter" in 1839
  • Thomas Cain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Porter" in 1839
  • Jane Cain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Porter" in 1839
  • John Cain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Porter" in 1839


Cain Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • W Cain landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • John Cain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Henry Cain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Lillian Cain, aged 44, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • George Cain, aged 30, a plasterer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Collingwood" in 1875


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  • Dean George Cain (b. 1966), American actor
  • Matthew Thomas Cain (b. 1984), American Major League Baseball player
  • James Mallahan Cain (1892-1977), American author and journalist
  • Herbert James Cain (1912-1982), Canadian professional ice hockey left winger
  • Elizabeth "Liz" Cain (b. 1962), former Australian pair skater
  • Major Robert Henry Cain (1909-1974), British Soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII
  • John Cain (b. 1931), Australian Labor Party politician, 41st Premier of Victoria (1982 to 1990)
  • Ashley Thomas Cain (b. 1990), English footballer
  • Mr. Dominic Cain, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Henry Cain, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

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  • A History of our Cain Family of Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee.
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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  5. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  6. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  7. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Cain Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cain Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 February 2015 at 13:15.

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