O'Keane History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The surname O'Keane originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Cathain" or "Mac Cathain."
Early Origins of the O'Keane family
The surname O'Keane 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 O'Keane family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Keane 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 O'Keane History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Keane Spelling Variations
Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name O'Keane revealed many variations, including 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 O'Keane 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...
Migration of the O'Keane family
During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the O'Keane family in 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.
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.