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Many New Zealanders who have a McKain or McKane in their ancestry are related and connect to a family which lived in Guernsey, Channel Islands. There are still many McKanes in Guernsey and they are cousins too.
There is a genealogical study which seeks to trace various forms of the name McKane and to classify descendants into groups, based on their DNA.
As usual in genealogy, it is unreliable to assume connection based on the spelling of the surname. DNA studies have successfully linked the New Zealand McKains to the Guernsey McKanes, as well as establishing that they are members of a family with Scottish origins.
“The name MacKeane is a variant of MacIan ‘son of John’. The MacIans of Ardnamurchan, who sometimes, wrongly, called themselves Johnstone, claimed descent from a son of Angus Mor, Lord of the Isles in the fourteenth century. In the seventeenth century, some of them settled on the east coast and became prominent merchants in Elgin, where they called themselves MacKeane. The MacIans of Glencoe, victims of the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, were a branch of the MacDonalds.”
For many years, it was thought that most McKanes were connected to the Clan Donald. The McKane DNA Project is proving that the majority do not fit into this group. Most of them are Irish in origin. However, it happens that the line from Guernsey fits into the Scottish group (Mc03)
The McCain DNA focuses on McCain families from the nine counties in Ulster (Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Tyrone. Anglicised forms of the name include McCain,McCaine, McKaine, McKane, McKean, and McKeen. To date there are two primary McCain families that have been located called the 01 McCain family and the 02 McCain family.
The 01 McCain family descends from the Mac Eáin family of Kilmichael Glassary parish in mid Argyll. The 01 McCain family migrated to Donegal in the late 1500s and are now well established in Donegal, Tyrone, Derry, and Antrim. They are linked to the historical figure of William McKean the Soldier of Mongavlin, Donegal (early 1600s). Some notables in this family are James McKeen, co-leader of the 1718 fleet, Admiral John Sydney McCain of Teoc, Mississippi, Donnchadh Mór Mac Eáin baliff for the Earl of Argyll in the early 1500s.
blog address for the 01 McCain family: http://maceain.blogspot.com/
The 02 McCain family has some links to County Cavan. This is the family of Thomas McKean the Signer and of Alexander McCaine, the ante bellum Southern Methodist theologian and writer.
The 03 McCain group is the Mac Eain of Glencoe and Mac Eain family of Ardnamurchan.