Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cain, Kane, O'Kane - which is it?

I know I haven't posted on here for a few months, but it's for a very good reason - I switched careers! I am now employed by Legacy Tree Genealogists as a researcher on their DNA team! I could not be happier with the change in jobs, getting to do something I love and being able to support my family with it is literally a dream come true for me. Making that dream come true took some doing, and in all the hubbub, blogging had to go to the back burner for a few months. Things are still a little crazy, but I wanted to take just a few minutes tonight because it's Family History Month again.

A little over a month ago, I received an email from a cousin of mine on my Cain side, the Irish great-grandparents of my grandpa Fred Gibson. The email contained the scans of a handwritten history, written by a descendant of Dennis Cain, which detailed Dennis's origins in Northern Ireland, named his parents, told how he met his wife in Canada, and other juicy tidbits. It also said his last name was originally O'Kane, not Cain as it was written in Canadian records, or Kane as it was spelled in the US. It makes me wonder which was the real name? If I could find original records in Ireland to corroborate the O'Kane name, that would be really cool.

One interesting thing I noticed on the first page, is there is an Arthur Kane listed as one of Dennis and Catherine's children. I have records for Anthony, Eliza Jane, John, Catherine, David, and Thomas, but no Arthur. I wonder where that name came from? For Eliza, I only have her birth record, so I think she may have died as an infant or toddler.

Last bit of analysis of this first page. First off, it's written by the granddaughter of Dennis Cain (I'm sticking with that spelling until I see different in other records), Catherine Irene (Cain) Taraldson, who also went by Veronica (because you can never have too many names, right?). It's Catherine's recollection of her father's recollection of his father's story. At best, we're two tellings removed, and who knows how many years. Not to cast doubt on her story, but some things stand out right off - John O'Kane, the alleged father of Dennis, was born in Belfast in 1785. Belfast (according to Wikipedia) boomed a few decades after John's birth, but it was still a big town then. From what I've learned about Irish genealogy, you have to go beyond big town names, and drill down to the teeny tiny townlands to find out where folks are really from. Belfast is so big, it makes me suspect that it's too general to be entirely accurate. Who know, I could be wrong though. Bears looking into at least.

Next time, we'll look at page two!

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