Origins Available: Irish
The surname MacKayant originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."
Early Origins of the MacKayant family
The surname MacKayant 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 MacKayant family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacKayant research.Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1196, 1617, 1641, 1644 and 1819 are included under the topic Early MacKayant History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacKayant Spelling Variations
Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations
of the surname MacKayant are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name 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 MacKayant 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... Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacKayant Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacKayant family to the New World and Oceana
The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families
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 MacKayant family relocated to North American shores quite early: Charles Kane settled in New London Conn. in 1811 with his family; Charles, David, Francis, Henry, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Kane all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870.
The MacKayant 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.