McKen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The McKen family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name McKen is derived from the given name Ian or John. John is the most common personal name in the Highlands. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Iain.
Early Origins of the McKen family
The surname McKen was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.
Early History of the McKen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKen research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1340, 1292, 1808, 1875, 1618, 1717, 1777, 1667 and are included under the topic Early McKen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McKen Spelling Variations
Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McKen has been spelled MacIan, MacAne, MacKane, MacKean, MacKain and others.
Early Notables of the McKen family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Archibald McKain (1717-1777), Scottish Shoemaker and Burgess of Elgin, Morayshire, who became the 15th Chief of MacIain of Ardnamurchan. Also of note was Thomas M'kean of Delaware, one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence.
John Canne (d. 1667?)...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McKen family to Ireland
Some of the McKen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McKen migration to the United States +
Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McKen were among those contributors:
McKen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- James Mc Ken, who arrived in New York in 1905 aboard the ship "Oceanic" from Liverpool, England 
- John McKen, aged 42, who arrived in New York in 1920 from Cienfuegos, Cuba 
Contemporary Notables of the name McKen (post 1700) +
- Timal McKen, American actor, known for his work in Grand Theft Auto IV (2008), Greenback Boogie (2011) and Angelo's Money (2011)
- Mark Johnston McKen (1823-1872), South African plant botanical author
Related Stories +
- ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JF4L-227 : 6 December 2014), James Mc Ken, 22 Nov 1905; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Oceanic, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
- ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6FL-XMQ : 6 December 2014), John McKen, 21 Jan 1920; citing departure port Cienfuegos, Cuba, arrival port New York, ship name , NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).