An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The surname McCain originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."
The surname McCain 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.
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 McCain 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.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCain research. Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1196, 1617, 1641, 1644 and 1819 are included under the topic Early McCain History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 267 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
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 McCain family relocated to North American shores quite early:
McCain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
McCain Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
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.
The McCain Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McCain 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 22 March 2016 at 23:02.