McKayan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The surname McKayan originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."
Early Origins of the McKayan family
The surname McKayan 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 McKayan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKayan 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 McKayan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McKayan Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period because the general population had to rely on local official's understanding of how their name should be spelt, hence spellings in records often changed through a person's lifetime. The following variations for the name McKayan were encountered in the archives: 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 McKayan 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 McKayan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McKayan family
Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name McKayan to North America: 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.
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The McKayan 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.