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

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

The surname Keane originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."

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Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Keane were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Keane, Kane, Kayne, Keaney, Keny, Keyne, O'Kane, O'Keane, O'Cahan, Cahan, Kean, O'Cain, McCloskey, McCluskey, McClaskey and many more.

First found in County Londonderry (Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster. At one time, the areas was named O'Cahan Country.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keane research. Another 259 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1196, 1617, 1641, 1644 and 1819 are included under the topic Early Keane History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 267 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keane Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Keane family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Keane Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Martin, Michael, Patrick, and William Keane all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

Keane Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Honora Keane arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
  • Martin Keane arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • William Keane arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • John Keane, aged 35, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Constance"


Keane Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Ellen Keane, aged 26, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863
  • Margaret Keane, aged 17, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Mary Keane, aged 20, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alumbagh" in 1875
  • Michael Keane, aged 35, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878
  • John Keane, aged 40, a farmer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878


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  • Edward Keane (1884-1959), American actor of the '30s and '40s
  • William "Bill" Aloysius Keane (1922-2011), American cartoonist of The Family Circus
  • Bob Keane (1922-2009), American musician, producer and owner of the record label Del-Fi Records, producer and manager of Ritchie Valens
  • Glen Keane (b. 1954), American Annie Award winning animator, best known for his character animation at Walt Disney Studios for feature films including The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, and Tangled
  • James John Keane (1857-1929), American archbishop of the Catholic Church
  • James Patrick "Jim" Keane (1924-2011), professional American NFL football end
  • Jim Keane, American politician, Democratic Party member of the Montana Senate
  • Margaret Keane (b. 1927), American illustrator and painter
  • Peter Keane, American blues/folk musician
  • Dolores Keane (b. 1953), Irish folk singer and occasional actress

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  • by Clarke L. Neal, Southern Garners (also Kean.
  • by Sam Garner.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Felis demulcta mitis
Motto Translation: A stroked cat is gentle.

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  1. 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.
  2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  3. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  4. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
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The Keane Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keane 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 7 December 2014 at 18:28.

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