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Title: McLea and McCain connection: Ideas?
Posted by: Kyle MacLea
Date: 02 November 2005

Dear Forum,

As many of you know, my family of MacLea/McLea has not shown good matches with the Lismore branch or any other McLea/Livingstones that we have tested.  On the contrary, my best matches are with a group of McCain/McKanes from County Antrim in Ireland as well as a couple of other folks (McCarter, Henry, Poore).  This group of McCains is known as the Route McKanes and though some bits are known of their origins, their ancient origins are unknown.

I have been trying for sometime to track down plausible leads for a connection between these families, in particular McCain and McLea.  So far, we've had some theories but no real leads to check out.  I'm hoping that all of you on the forum will be able to provide some ideas.  Please get in touch and/or post if you do have ideas.  

I've been working with the folks on the McCain project, including their resident Gaelic scholar, Barra McCain, to come up with ideas.  But recently I've seen a lot of discussions of Gaelic and ancient genealogies on this forum, and since I don't have much relevant knowledge of either, I thought I'd post some conjecture from Barra and see if it sparked any ideas or enthusiasm from those on the forum.

Here goes.  Barra says (edited by me):


One group of MacLeas is from the man Dunsleibhe Mac Aodh Alainn, who lived circa 1025 to 1100.... in Argyle, the grandson of an Irish prince who had come over.

From this line sprang the Mac Lochlain clan of Cowal and Glassary.

The Mac Lochlainn at Glassary started his own 'sept' circa 1440s.  His name Alan Mac Eáin riabach Mac Lochlainn.   I think it is his son buried in Kilmichael church, named Duncan Mór MacCane.  On the top of his stone is written the name Lochlainn.

... that would make those McCanes and the Mac Leas the same paternal descent, and put them in the same area. Furthermore I find a man name
MacCarter-McCane there in the mid 1500s.  Same spot.

Anyone with access to actual records from
Glassary that shows the line of Dunnchadh Mór Mac Cane who has the large burial stone at
Kilmichael-Glassary would be of help...

The facts are:

His name appears on the stone, inscription is in Latin, I have a line drawing done by an achealogist/engineer team of the stone. Inscription reads:

Hic iacet Duncanus Mor M'Cane

Then on top of the stone is the important bit.... the name Lachlan.

The family that controlled this land was that of Alan Mac Eáin Mac Lochlainn... he took control 1436 and the stone is from the 1470s.  He is of
the same paternal line as the Argyle Mac Lea family.  Plus a man named McArthur-McCane was 'captain' of this area in the mid 1500s.  It appears as though the descendants of Alain Mac Eáin Mac Lochlainn used the surname Mac Eáin as their surname and they were the Captains of the Mac Lochlainn sept in Glassary, i.e. Mac Lochlainn of Dunadd.

To my mind the name on the top of the stone clinches who is there.  If so... he's of the same line of the Mac Lea of Argyle (i.e. Bute and Cowall) and then we have one of them with the name Mac Arthur .... another name that both
the Mac Lea and McCanes match... and also from Glassary area.

We do have one DNA test that should help us coming in.... i.e. the McCane family of County Laois.

The Scottish Crown records mention Dunnchadh Mór Mac Cane.... so there is hope.  Plus some DNA testing of other people of this line would also confirm the theory. Names of interest to us would be McLea from Bute/Cowal, McCarter
from Glassary, McLochlan from Glassary, McSweeny from Donegal (also of this line).

Also... even if all this story turns up 100% correct, there might be a possiblity that it is not relevant.  But given the fact McLea, McKane,
McCarter all match a man from Lochgilphaed (i.e. Glassarry-Kilmichael).... so far the DNA supports it.


Barra goes on to say that if anyone has records from the area that you think might be useful as regards this line or whatnot, please get in touch with me (ksm6 at cornell dot edu) or him (failte at watervalley dot net).

One other bit is that the nearest I can get to knowing the origins of my McLea family is that my eldest great grandmother (b. about 1800) was from Rothesay, Bute.  Her husband, John McLea, is presumed to have been from there as well, but I have only been able to track him and his descendants with certainty to Glasgow.  Unfortunately, he died too young to have been recorded officially in any useful census or statuatory record.  Still, I find it likely that his family of McLeas is one that has been found in Rothesay parish and the surrounding area from at least the late 1600s through to the 1800s.

I would love it we could put our heads together on this (as a lot of folks here seem to have some great ideas on other McLea origins!).  Thanks in advance for any help or ideas.

All the best,

** This Thread has ended - Please do NOT attempt to resurrect it! **


Title:Date:Posted By:
McLea and McCain connection: Ideas?02 November 2005Kyle MacLea
   McLea and McCain connection: Ideas?02 November 2005Kyle MacLea
   McLea and McCain connection: Ideas?02 November 2005Rob Livingston
   McLea and McCain connection: Ideas?02 November 2005Andrew Lancaster
      The Route McKanes02 November 2005Kyle MacLea
         The Route McKanes02 November 2005Andrew Lancaster
            DNA of The Route McKanes03 November 2005Kyle MacLea
               DNA of The Route McKanes04 November 2005Andrew Lancaster

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