Kein History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Kein family

The surname Kein was 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.

Early History of the Kein family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kein research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1196, 1617, 1641, 1644, 1819, 1697, 1757, 1714, 1631 and 1709 are included under the topic Early Kein History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kein Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of the surname Kein can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Keane, Kane, Kayne, Keaney, Keny, Keyne, O'Kane, O'Keane, O'Cahan, Cahan, Kean, O'Cain, McCloskey, McCluskey, McClaskey and many more.

Early Notables of the Kein family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Ruaidri Dall Ó Catháin (fl. late 16th/early 17th century), an Irish harper and composer; and Echlin O'Kane, one of the most famous of all Irish Harpists. Manus O'Cahan's Regiment of Foot was a body of soldiers, many of who had fought in Europe in the early years of the Thirty Years War. McColla, and a cousin by marriage, Manus O'Cahan, were thrown together in a joint Catholic-Protestant Scots-Irish peace keeping force in 1641. In one Ulster battle, McColla was badly wounded. O'Cahan personally dragged his giant 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) friend...
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kein Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kein migration to the United States +

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 Kein family came to North America quite early:

Kein Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ludwk Kein, aged 40, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1737 [1]
Kein Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A Kein, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • B F Kein, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [1]
  • James Kein, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [1]
  • Miss M E Kein, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860 [1]
  • John Kein, who landed in Arkansas in 1893 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kein migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kein Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Kein, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Kein migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kein Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ernst Traugott Kein, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Victoria"


The Kein Motto +

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.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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