All Irish surnames have a unique and often romantic meaning. The name Chain originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Seain, which translates as son of John.
Early Origins of the Chain family
The surname Chain was first found in County Kerry
(Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond
(14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland
, in Munster
province, where they were granted lands by Strongbow
when he invaded Ireland
Early History of the Chain family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chain research.Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1750 is included under the topic Early Chain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chain Spelling Variations
The spelling of names in Ireland
during the Middle Ages was rarely consistent. This inconsistency was due to the scribes and church officials' attempts to record orally defined names in writing. The common practice of recording names as they sounded resulted in spelling variations
such as McShane, McShain, McShaen, MacShane, MacShain, MacShaen, MacCheyne, McCheyne, McSheyne, MacSheyne, McCheine, McChain, MacCheine, MacChain, McChein, McShaney, McShanie and many more.
Early Notables of the Chain family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Chain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chain family to the New World and Oceana
The English-ruled Ireland
of the late 18th and 19th centuries featured a rapidly increasing population and an agricultural-based economy. This combination proved to be disastrous in the 1840s after a couple of failed potato harvests. Thousands died of disease and starvation, and thousands more left the country, often bound for North America. Those that survived the journey to North America were put to work building the bridges, canals, roadways, and railways needed for the development of an industrial society. Those Irish, although often despised by those already established in North American cities and towns, played an instrumental role in making Canada and the United States the powerful and wealthy nations that they are today. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has shown many immigrants bearing the name Chain: John and Joseph McShain settled in Philadelphia in 1860.
Contemporary Notables of the name Chain (post 1700)
- Sir Ernst Boris Chain (1906-1979), German-born British biochemist, and a 1945 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize