Thursday, 26 February 2015

Finding the McCains


Finding the McCains

Finding the McCains, is an account of a man’s 40 year odyssey to find the McCain family in Ireland.  Senator John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabethan Spencer, both include a short history of the McCain family in their respective memoirs Faith of our Fathers and Landscapes of the Heart.  Their history is a romantic tale of Highland Scots who supported Mary Queen of Scots and who fled to Ireland after her downfall in 1568.  The search for the McCains became a mystery story with clues, false turns, many adventures, and then ultimate success through Y chromosome DNA testing.  In 2008 the McCains were reunited with their family that remained in Ireland, after 289 years of separation.

The McCain history includes people and events familiar to readers of Irish and Scottish history; Redshanks, Iníon Dubh, Mary Queen of Scots, the Earls of Argyll, the Ulster Migration, and the Scots-Irish, are all part of this family’s history.  Faint memories of this past were told for generations in Mississippi and as the research progressed the facts behind these memories were uncovered. 

The Y chromosome DNA results revealed that the McCains of Mississippi, which include Senator John McCain’s family, are the same family of Wallace and Harrison McCain, the founders of Canada’s McCain Foods, one of the most successful corporations in the world.  They are also the same family as James McKeen who organized the 1718 fleet that began the great Ulster Migration to the English Colonies.  All these families are paternally related and they all descend from one Gaelic man named Mac Eáin that lived in Kilmichael Glassary parish, in mid Argyll, in the Scottish Highlands, in the 1400s.

The book tells of the author’s many trips to Ireland in search of his distant cousins there.  There are anecdotal stories, some humorous and others involving “famous” people; such as, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Mary Coughlan (Irish Tainste or vice president), Cindy McCain (wife of Senator McCain), Seán Mac Stiofáin (1970s head of the IRA) , Alan Heusaff (WW II German officer in Dublin who later became president of the Celtic League), and Muhammad Ali.  There is even an encounter with a Bean Sí (faerie woman) on the windy cold hill of megalithic stone ruins at Loch an Craoibh.  All presented from the perspective of a native Mississippian.

Another theme in the book is the Scots-Irish.  Contemporary histories about the Scots-Irish present stereotyped and romanticized accounts of this dynamic group.  Finding the McCains reveals a more complex history and shows the cultural conflation common in Scots-Irish popular history.

Finding the McCains is an excellent read for all interested in Irish and Scottish history and is an how-to guide for those interested in how-to guide for those who would like to use genetic genealogy to locate their family in the old country and recover lost family history.

To purchase from Amazon: Finding the McCains

To purchase from Ulster Heritage directly send US $20 (postage paid) to:
Ulster Heritage
PO Box 884
Oxford MS 38655

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Scots-Irish: Haplogroup R-S1051 Project

The Scots-Irish: Haplogroup R-S1051 Project: ( Many Scots-Irish are in R-S1051 haplogroup.  A lot of research going on with this haplogroup; they appear to be indigenous to central Scot...

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Scots-Irish: Native Tribes of Britain

The Scots-Irish: Native Tribes of Britain: The majority of the Scots-Irish are descendants of the native Celtic tribes of north Britain.  Here is a link to an article on the BBC Histo...

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Tweedy Family: Tweedys in Scotland and Ireland

The Tweedy Family: Tweedys in Scotland and Ireland: We need Tweedys (by any spelling) to participate in DNA testing.  Our goals are to locate the Tweedy family in Scotland and Ireland and reco...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Scots-Irish: Scots-Irish Books

The Scots-Irish: Scots-Irish Books: Three centuries of life in a Tyrone parish. A history of Donagheady from 1600 to 1900, by William Roulston (USD $ 12.95) Format Ebook.  ...

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Greenland and the Celtic Vikings

Recent DNA research reveals there was a considerable Celtic presence in the Norse settlement on Greenland; link to article:  Celtic Norse

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

The marking and celebration of the Winter Solstice is the oldest holiday tradition in Ireland.  Today is the shortest day of the year and soon the Sun will start is climb in the sky.  It is a day of joy, of a glass of Jameson and lighting of candles and making merry. 

Link:  Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere

Monday, 8 December 2014

Donegal Magazine, new E-zine issue

                                                                                                             Welcome to the Donegal in Touch e-zine.  This e-zine is part of the Donegal Diaspora Project. Through this project Donegal is reaching out and connecting with people in all parts of the world who have a connection to or interest in Donegal.  This e-zine is sent to people in all parts of the world.
To access the Donegal Community in Touch Ezine please click on the following link:
Please feel free to pass this e-zine on to others that you feel might be interested in it. Any views, comments or contributions to the e-zine are very welcome.    
For further information on Donegal or on the Donegal Diaspora Project, please visit the website at
The Donegal - community in touch / Dún na nGall - pobail i d'teagmháil Publication Team
Máire Ni Fhearraigh
EU & Strategic Policy Unit
Community & Enterprise
Tel Ext: LK 264, Lifford 435

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Scots-Irish: Tim Clarkson & Viking Age Strathclyde

The Scots-Irish: Tim Clarkson & Viking Age Strathclyde: Tim Clarkson's new book on Viking Age Strathclyde  is now available and highly recommended.  Strathclyde and the Anglo-Saxons in th...

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Scots-Irish: The Cracker

The Scots-Irish: The Cracker: Cracker Cattle What is the etymology of the term Cracker?   We all know what a Cracker was (or is).   A Southern Anglo-Celt, usually ...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

AncestryDNA and 23andMe (V3) Transfer to Family Tree

(more information on the transfer offer from Family Tree DNA.)

Family Tree DNA is now allowing people that have taken an AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) test to transfer their raw data to the Family Finder database for FREE by visiting!
That’s right!  Pass this news along to your friends and family members that have tested with or 23andMe so they can discover new matches in the world’s largest genetic genealogy database for FREE!  
Note: Autosomal raw data cannot be transferred to an account that already has Family Finder
What’s in it for You?
After transferring, you’ll get your top 20 matches, complete with their surnames and relationship predictions.  You don’t have to do anything after uploading your data to see these matches.  You’ve got nothing to lose!

You can unlock ALL of your matches and myOrigins results for free by recruiting 4 other relatives or friends to transfer their results using a link we’ll provide!

Unlock Right Away for Just $39
If you do not want to wait for 4 others to transfer, we are also permanently reducing the price to unlock all of your matches and myOrigins results to just $39!  
Once a transfer has purchased or referred 4 others they will unlock the full Family Finder experience!
How Does it Work?
New customers must enter their name and email address to get started.  If you already have an FTDNA account, just click Already have a Family Tree DNA account?

Next, click ‘Upload Raw Data’ to select and upload the raw data file from AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) from your computer.  It is not necessary to unzip the file prior to uploading it.  If you don’t have your raw data file handy, instructions on how to download it will be available.

The first round of results processing will take about an hour and an email notification will be sent to the registered email address after we are done processing the raw data.

Transfer your 23andMe©(V3) or AncestryDNA™

Family Tree DNA is offering free transfers from 23andMe and AncestryDNA.  This is an excellent opportunity to upload your existed data into Family Tree's data base. 

Link:  23andMeV3 and AncestryDNA Transfers

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Scots-Irish: R-L21 Haplogroup and the Scots-Irish

The Scots-Irish: R-L21 Haplogroup and the Scots-Irish:   Above is a map showing the location of the R-L21 Haplogroup.  R-L21 Haplogroup and the growing number of downstream (more recent in ch...

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Scots-Irish: John Steinbeck and his Scots-Irish mother

The Scots-Irish: John Steinbeck and his Scots-Irish mother: Many families married into the Scots-Irish.  German families in the Upland and backwood South often became part of Scots-Irish society.  Her...

Monday, 29 September 2014

The Scots-Irish: Scottish historian Tim Clarkson

The Scots-Irish: Scottish historian Tim Clarkson: This blog is primarily about the Scots-Irish in the New World from Colonial times to the present.  Occasionally, I will post items of intere...

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project has 3,028 participating families.  The haplogroups associated with Insular Celts continue to comprise the majority of those families tested with the R-M222 the most numerous with R-L21 following closely.  Other haplogroups of note is the I-L126, which is associated with Scotland and thought to be one of the early, pre R1b, populations in Scotland. 

We are slowly getting the results pages to reflect the amazing progress the geneticists have been making in locating new haplogroups.  Eventually, with these many new downstream haplogroups, a geographic area will be linked to them.  We will post news on this as it becomes available.

We continue to add book titles for sale for families doing genetic genealogy.  Most families will notice a geographic pattern to their match group, especially if they have done higher level testing.  After a geographic location of interest appears then attention can be given to the early primary sources for that area.  Given the static nature of daily life in Ulster in the 1600s families tended to remain in the district for generations.  If a family has a DNA connection to a district then these early primary sources, which often list the families in a district, can provide valuable information.  

Link to access the Ulster Heritage DNA results.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

News From Ballymoney Museum

Dear Family Historian,
It’s less than two weeks to ROUTE BACK HOME 2014 and the staff at Ballymoney Museum are getting everything ready for the arrival of our delegates; it’s going to be another exciting genealogy conference!
A highlight of every Route Back Home is the launch of Dorothy Arthur’s next book and her latest bestseller focuses on Kilraughts Old Church Graveyard.  As with all Dorothy’s books, it contains unpublished information which can’t be found anywhere else.  It’s an essential purchase for family historians researching ‘Roots in the Route’!
Dorothy will be among the many experienced genealogists attending the conference and this gives every delegate the unique opportunity to chat with the experts and discover new and obscure sources in the archives.
If you’re planning to attend ROUTE BACK HOME 2014, please send us your booking form as soon as possible.
I look forward to seeing you.
Keith Beattie
Museum Manager

Monday, 1 September 2014

McCain's Corner: DNA Genetic Genealogy Sale

McCain's Corner: DNA Genetic Genealogy Sale: All the DNA projects I administer and assist with, use Family Tree DNA labs in Houston, Texas.  Why?  Well, they are the best, they have the...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ballymoney Family History Event

Dear Family Historian,
It’s just a month until the next Route Back Home family history conference and it’s promising to be the best ever, I hope you’ll be able to join us!
The programme has plenty to appeal to everyone interested in genealogy who has family in North Antrim.  Local researchers will be joining us every day to provide support and expertise and delegates will be able to chat and exchange ideas and information throughout the four exciting days.
The success of previous conferences has encouraged BBCTV to send a film crew. They will focus on two delegates and their story will be broadcast in October on the popular Ulster-Scots programme ‘The Gaitherin’ .
If you haven’t booked your place, please make sure you don’t leave it too late.  I hope to see you in the Route next month!
Best wishes,
Keith Beattie
Museum Manager
Ballymoney Museum

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Scots-Irish: Scots-Irish DNA Project Update 13 August 2014

The Scots-Irish: Scots-Irish DNA Project Update 13 August 2014: 442 families are now participating in the Scots-Irish DNA project and the project is growing at a rapid pace.  We have enough DNA results ...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Scots-Irish: Art

The Scots-Irish: Art:       The Cold Gray Fog of Dawn, by David Wright           

The Scots-Irish: The Great Wagon Road

The Scots-Irish: The Great Wagon Road: The Great Wagon Road followed paths used by Indians and was the main roads by which the Scots-Irish moved south and west and peopled the b...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Scots-Irish: Art

The Scots-Irish: Art: I do not know who did this work so can not credit them, but it is a piece celebrating the Scots-Irish and Cherokee connections. Openi...