Discoveries in Genetic Genealogy  2014 to 2018


GENETIC DISCOVERIES


Since the launch of the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests, such as, FTDNA Big Y (now called the Big Y 500), Full Genomes and Geno 2.0 testing, there has been a tsunami of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism's (SNP) discovered in the male Y-chromosome. A SNP is defined by geneticists as a single point mutation in a DNA sequence that is found in more than 1% of the population and is used for defining haplogroups. These refer to the SNP mutations which represent the clade to which a collection of similar haplotypes belong and who share a common ancestor. Today, when SNPs are discovered, they are considered “private” or “family” mutations and are usually only added to the human Y-Tree once they have met a set of conditions or criteria. The discovery of thousands of new SNPs has enabled both professional and amateur citizen scientist to reconstruct Y-Trees that are connecting people within the last one thousand years and many are now defining family surnames.


Within the R-M222 DNA Project, a new subclade named A223, downstream of R-M222>S660, was discovered in 2014 through genetic sequencing.  In the same year, on 4 November, Iain Kennedy (R-M222 citizen scientist) reported a new branch under A223 defined by two SNP mutations A822 and A823, found between McKinney (7213) and Milliken (23702).  The following day, Iain Kennedy reported another new branch at point A743 found between Milligan (235983) and Milliken (23702), located downstream of A822 and A223. This was followed by the discovery of four new novel variants called A981, A982, A983 and A984. In 2016, through the efforts of Michael Kaehler, this block was split to form two new subclades under A984 known as A981/2 and A11242 (see below).  Since then, a new SNP mutation has been discovered called Z44995, which is believed to be the parent of A822. However, its exact position on the Y tree is uncertain. Alex Williamson notes, this SNP may belong further upstream or all the downstream branches may not be positive for it.  The following Y tree and others thereafter are found in his website.


The Big Y Tree: R-A223


In addition to these discoveries, on 31 December, 2014, it was reported by David Wilson, founder of the R-M222 Haplogroup Project, another new branch had been discovered between McKenny (7213) and Cannon (181988), who shared five novel variants, e.g. BY586, Y587, BY588, BY589 and BY590, shortened to BY586-90.  The discovery of A984 and BY586 has since been followed in 2017 and 2018 by A8683 (Cannon/Buchan) and A11695 (Dodson), and recently, on 22 June, it was announced another new branch had been found between Hidden 192471 and Byers 511387 named A17682, which is not on Big Y Tree.

 

Another important development was reported on 13 January, 2015, when Iain Kennedy identified A1774, a new subclade downstream of A224.  It was found between two surnames long associated with the south-west of Scotland, McIlveen (223269) and Kennedy (N118456), and both surnames have a strong attachment with Ayrshire. The Mcilvains or Mcilveens of Grimmet in the parish of Straiton are a well-established family with a history that can be traced back to the 1400s in Ayrshire and like many Scots, some of their descendants settled in Ireland in the 1600s. During this period, thousands of Scots migrated into Ulster for which the plantation of Ulster under by King James I of England and VI of Scotland was but only one part. Many settled in County Antrim and County Down, and other parts of Ireland, which were not part of the official plantation scheme in 1610, with peaks migration after 1650.


Two further branches have been developed that are parallel branches to A225 and all are downstream of BY3339, which has been highlighted with a red background on Alex Williamson’s Big Y Tree. He notes the mutations at this SNP fall within a region of the Y chromosome, such as the palindromic region, which has left the position of the mutation ambiguous. The true mutation may be at the indicated position, or at anyone of a number of alternative positions. Through the efforts of James Frew, an almost unique SNP mutation has been identified at FGC35903 for a family bearing the surname Frew in Scotland. The early indications are, the family appear to have been associated for a period of time in North Ayrshire.  The second branch is BY11694 and appears to identify another unique SNP mutation for the McElhinney surname that is found in Scotland and Ireland, where a similar Gaelic system of naming can be found. This has caused much confusion, particularly for those surnames in the ‘Mac’ style.  


Most of the new branches found downstream of A223 contain recognisable surnames attached to the west and southwest of Scotland, such as, Cannon, Ferguson, Frew, Kennedy, McConnell, McIlveen, McKinney, McKean, McNab, and Milligan/Milliken, and many of these settled in Ireland during Scottish settlements.  In his study on the Movement of British Settlers into Ulster during the Seventeenth Century, Dr. W. A. Macafee cites figures based on Government reports in 1672 that of the estimated 100,000 Scots present in Ireland, 80,000 of them had arrived after 1650. The greater number of Scots settled in Ulster added to the growing number of Presbyterians (and settlers, who never accepted the new faith, but continued to adhere to Catholicism), descend from communities with a strong sense of kinship and attachment to the old Scottish medieval structures of clanship.


Few R-M222>A223 members have a pre-1600 paper trail though most have strong surname histories, such as the Kennedys and McCords in Ayrshire, and the Milligans in Nithsdale and Galloway. The Clan Kennedy membership contains a number of people derived from a branch shared with a group of McCords, defined by the following SNP mutation sequence A223>A224>FGC32899 (for more details open this link). Big Y testing this year (2018) identified downstream two further unique SNP mutations BY18130 for a sub-branch of Kennedys, and BY18173 for a family of McCords. A223 is also parent to another SNP mutation known as A822, ancestor to an interesting cluster of surnames that includes a family of Milligans and Johnstones originating in Nithsdale, Kelly family in Co. Galway and Cannon family in Co. Donegal, Ireland.  A223 is not the only R-M222 subclade to share an early link between Ireland and the west and south-west of Scotland. The McGhie and McKies of Galloway and the McConnachy and Duncans of Bute, share an early medieval SNP sequence with the O’Dohertys and O’Donnells in Co. Donegal, Ireland, defined as M222>DF85>DF97. The history of how the A223>A822 and DF85>DF97 subclades settled between Scotland and Ireland is the subject of ongoing research. In the following section, one aspect is considered in more detail, the relationship between a cluster of BY586 Cannons in Co. Donegal and A822 Milligans in SW Scotland.


O’CANNANNÁINS IN COUNTY DONEGAL


For the early history and genealogies of the O’Canannáin in Co. Donegal, Tomás G. Ó Canann has written two excellent articles Aspects of an Early Irish Surname: Ua Canannáin, and Ua Canannáin Genealogies in the Irish Manuscript Tradition. He is the leading authority on the Ua Canannáin and in his articles, he traces the general history of the surname and families until the nineteenth century. Quoting Prof. Padraig Ó Rianin, Ó Canann notes Ua Canannain 'appears to be the first of the surnames to be mentioned in the annals’ and as a dynasty was created in the middle of the tenth century when it emerged from obscurity under the leadership of its first king, Ruaidri Ua Canannáin († 950). This powerful figure took the personal name of his grandfather, Canannain, which is a diminutive or hypocoristic name-form ultimately derived from the Old Irish name Cano. The noun cano > cana denotes a wolf cub or whelp. The Irish Annals are silent about the identity of Canannáin, leaving us to consider the Irish genealogies, which assert Canannáin was the son of Flaithbertach, whose father Domnall Ceiric, king of the North, died in 804.


Canannáin son of Flaithbertach would then have lived in the ninth century and according to the Irish genealogies, he was directly descended from Fergus Cendfota son of Conaill (founder of the Cenél Conaill), the grandfather of St. Colum Cille or Columba of Iona in Scotland († 597). The genetic clade of the early medieval kings of the Cenél Conaill is the subject of ongoing research and one theory, proposes it is a haplotype of the R-M222 haplogroup.  What is interesting, several of the Ua Canannain kings bear names associated with St. Columba of Iona, namely, Mael Colum and Gilla Colum, personal names not found amongst the earlier kings of the Cenél Conaill. Mael Colum Ua Canannáin († 957) is said to have been the father of Ruaidri Ua Canannáin.  However, Diarmuid Ó Murchadha in his article The Formation of Gaelic surnames in Ireland, favours him as a brother. In the Annals of Ireland, the earliest reference to the personal name Mael Colum is that of Mael Colum son of Domnall, king of Scots, who was killed in 954. The introduction of these personal names by this new line of kings in the tenth century, seems to reflect their natural devotion to St. Columba, who was the patron saint of the Ua Canannáin, and their long traditional ties with community of Iona.  


Over the next 300 years, the Ua Canannain would rule the Cenél Conaill, alternating the kingship with the Ua Maíl Doraid, who were also credited with a lineage traced from Flaithbertach mac Loingsig, until the defeat of Niall Ua Canannain killed by Maurice Fitz Gerald and his followers in 1250. After this, the family disappear from the Irish Annals. Not until the beginning of the seventeenth century, do we find the next trusted record that lists the names of their leading men, namely, Ennys groma O Cannyn, and Donell and Connor O Cannan of Tirconnell, ‘natural followers’ of Rory O’Donnell, lord of Tirconnell, pardoned with him in 1604 for rebellion3.


February [26], 1603/4

Pardon to Rory O’Donnell, of Tyrconnell, in province of Ulster, gent., and a list of other people, including, Ennys groma O Cannyn, Donell and Connor O Cannan of Tyrconnell, ‘natural followers of the said Rory O’Donnell’. Except intrusion on crown lands and debts to the crown.


Between 943 and 1250, the homeland of the Ua Canannain in Co. Donegal was the district known in Ceart Ui Neill as the Tri Saorthuatha Mhuinntire Chanannan. This territory has been identified as that district in the southern part of Co. Donegal represented by the civil barony of Tirhugh, plus that adjoining part of the barony of Banagh lying between the river Eske that runs between Lough Eske and the town of Donegal, and the Eany Water that begins at the confluence of the Eanymore and Eanybeg rivers above Ballymacahill Bridge and flows into Inver Bay.


We only begin to capture a real sense of the geographical distribution of the surname in the 1659 statistical census of Ireland and the Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1665. In the statistical census the baronies of Banagh and Boylagh are treated as a single barony.  In each barony, the number of Irish households by surname only appear to have been noteworthy if they exceeded more than three families or households.  The Hearth Money Tax Rolls only records the names of those households liable to pay two shillings on every hearth or fireplace they had. The poor were generally exempt from the tax. In both sets of records, the surname Ua Canannain has been Anglicised to O Canan, O Cannan or in the case of the parish of Killaghtee in civil barony of Banagh to O Cannoune.

 



















A comparison between both sets of records would appear to indicate that by 1665, the O’Cannans were mainly settled between the baronies of Banagh in the south of Co. Donegal, and Kilmacrenan and Inishowen in the northern part of the county.  They also indicate fewer O Cannans were liable to pay tax in 1665. Tomás Ó Canann has suggested the significant resettlement to the north of the county, may have taken place after 1250 and during the first half of the fourteenth century, when the O’Donnell kings of Tirconnell were consolidating their power within the Ua Canannain homeland5. If correct, these events took place before the plantation of Ulster in 1610, when many Scots began to settle in Co. Donegal. Significantly, in the muster rolls of British settlers able to bear arms in c.1630, there is only settler known by the name Cannon, namely, ‘John Kennan’, who was a tenant on the estate of Alexander Stewart6. This laird purchased in 1617, the estate of Alexander McAuley of Durling, called Ballyweagh or Ballyneagh in the barony of Raphoe.  John Cannon doesn’t appear in the Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1665, but significantly all the Cannons listed are spelt O Canan, O Cannan or O Cannoune,  which suggests they were almost certainly native Irish.


After 1665, there is long gap of some 150 years before the first substantial holding of records appear that list the names of individual O Cannans in Co. Donegal. These records include, the Irish Spinning Wheel Premium Lists of 1796, also known as the Flax Glower Lists, the Co. Donegal Declaration Signatures for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1799-1800, Tithe Applotment Books covering 1820s and 1830s and a selection of church records. Although, there are records that contain individual names of people, e.g. in private estate rentals and some isolated pre-1800 church records, the dearth of written material makes it almost impossible for most BY586 members to extend their family trees back as far as 1665.  One family that appears to have lived continuously within the old Tri Saorthuatha Mhuinntire Chanannan, are the O’Cannans from the parish of Inver, where we find the name of ‘James O'Cannan’ of Boneglen, modern Bonnyglen, in 1665. This townland bounds the Eany Water to the west and on the east, is located near the town of Mountcharles.


Barony

Census 1659

Tax Roll 1665

Banagh

8 families

3 households

Boylagh

See above

None recorded

Inishowen

None recorded

4 households

Kilmacrenan

9 families

7 households

Raphoe

None recorded

1 households

Tirhugh

None recorded

None recorded

A comparison between both sets of records would appear to indicate that by 1665, the O’Cannans were mainly settled between the baronies of Banagh in the south of Co. Donegal, and Kilmacrenan and Inishowen in the northern part of the county.  They also indicate fewer O Cannans were liable to pay tax in 1665. Tomás Ó Canann has suggested the significant resettlement to the north of the county may have taken place after 1250 and during the first half of the fourteenth century, when the O’Donnell kings of Tirconnell were consolidating their power base within the Ua Canannain homeland.  If correct, these events took place before the plantation of Ulster in c.1610, when many Scots began to settle in Co. Donegal. Significantly, in the muster rolls of the British settlers able to bear arms in 1630, there is only one Cannon settler listed, namely, ‘John Kennan’, who was a tenant on the estate of Alexander Stewart. He purchased in 1617, the estate of Alexander McAuley of Durling, called Ballyweagh or Ballyneagh in the barony of Raphoe.  John Cannon doesn’t appear in the Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1665, but significantly, all the Cannons listed are spelt O Canan, O Cannan or O Cannoune, which implies they were almost certainly native Irish.


After 1665, there is long gap of some 150 years before the first substantial holding of records appear that list the names of individual O Cannans in Co. Donegal. These records include, the Irish Spinning Wheel Premium Lists of 1796, also known as the Flax Glower Lists, the Co. Donegal Declaration Signatures for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1799-1800, Tithe Applotment Books covering 1820s and 1830s and a selection of church records. Although, there are records that contain individual names of people, e.g. in private estate rentals and some isolated pre-1800 church records, the dearth of written material makes it almost impossible for most BY586 members to extend their family trees back as far as 1665. One family that appears to have lived continuously within the old Tri Saorthuatha Mhuinntire Chanannan, are the O’Cannans from the parish of Inver, where we find the name of ‘James O'Cannan’ of Boneglen, modern Bonnyglen, in 1665. This townland bounds the Eany Water to the west and on the east, is located near the town of Mountcharles.





At least one member of the BY586 group and possibly another has a known family history attached to the district of Inver and in particular, a group of O Cannans, who lived in and around Mountcharles.  The names of at least five individual Cannons can be identified from the Co. Donegal Declaration Signatures for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1799: James Cannon, probably of Mountcharles, who is listed in 1829 as a freeholder for lands worth 40 shilling and more in Mountcharles and Glencoagh, near Bonnyglen; Pat and Bryan Cannon of Gortaward, which is also located near Bonnyglen and Mountcharles; Owen Cannon, sen, Owen Cannon, jun, and Pat Cannon of Tullyvoos. There were no doubt others, whose names appear in later records. Although, the historical records are not there to establish direct descent for them all, DNA testing now offers us an opportunity to identify genetic relationships through the most recent common ancestor shared by individuals clustered in and around the Mountcharles district of Inver.


The patronymic surname Ua Canannain certainly offers an interesting challenge, as it emerges as a dynasty created in the middle of the tenth century from relative obscurity under the leadership of its first king, Ruaidri Ua Canannáin, who appears to be the earliest surname-bearer in Ireland. Ó Murchadha has questioned Ó Canann’s claim that Ruaidri is the earliest surname-bearer, which he argues is contrary to the accepted view that Ó Cléirig was the first.  Even if it is not the first, it would still make the surname Ua Canannain one of the earliest in Ireland and Scotland.  With that in mind, the age of its formation (over a 1000 years ago!) increases the probability that two or more migration events occurred and the likelihood the surname could have been carried in other branches of the A822 clade.   This may well have happened with another Cannon family, which shares the SNP mutation known as A8683 with a Buchan member (see above Y-Charts). Based on the current structure of the A822 subclades, it could also be postulated either a descendant of the A822 common ancestor carried the BY586 SNP mutation into Co. Donegal or it had already mutated there.


AMULIGANE  KINDRED IN SW SCOTLAND


Until the beginning of the Modern era, it was not unusual to find the surnames Milligan and Cannon in southwest Scotland, spelt as Amuligane and Acannane.  There are several other notable examples, the Adonnan, Agnew, Ahannay and Askolok in Wigtownshire; Acarson, Ashennan and Asloan in Kirkcudbrightshire; Adowell and Ahair in Ayrshire; and Adrain on the Island of Kintyre. The earliest example of the initial 'A' appears in the name of Gillenef Accoultan who witnessed a gift by Roger de Skelbrooke, a knight of Earl Duncan of Carrick, to Melrose Abbey c.1196. He is the same, Gillenef Okeueltal who witnessed the gift of certain lands in Kersban, now called Carsphairn, by Thomas Collville de Kers in Ayrshire to the Melrose Abbey sometime between 1202 and 1206. The old name Accoultan was still present in Galloway as late as 1513, when Thomas Acoltane was accused of oppressing Sir David Kennedy. Maurice Acarson, appointed bailiff of the Isle of Man in 1256 by Alexander III (1249-86), king of Scots, is the same Mauricius Okarefair mentioned in the Chronicle of Lanercost. Maurice was probably head of a family group that included Robert Carson, a cleric, who witnessed a charter to the abbey of Cultram in Cumbria, England, circa 1276, and as Sir Robert de Carson, parson of Kirkandrews in Kirkcudbrightshire, in the Ragman Roll of 1296.


In his book Galloway Gossip, Dr. Robert Trotter refers to an old tradition still believed by some at the turn of the 1900s that those with the surname beginning with 'A' - it should be said that the 'A' was dropped from Amuligane early in the 1600s - came originally from Ireland, an observation based on their physical features. These people are described as “awesome Eerish-lookin”!! He goes on to mention a rather peculiar, or to use his own word ‘queer’ belief that whilst the Irish used the first letter in the word 'Ua', modified to 'O', the Gallovidians used the second letter 'A', prefixed to a given name. Could this old tradition contain an element of truth, perhaps explained in terms of a local accommodation reached between the native Gaelic and Brythonic-speaking peoples of Scotland? Trotter is not the only writer to suggest the initial 'A' appears to mean ‘descendant of’, George F. Black also ascribes a similar meaning to  Acannan and Adrain, Ahair, etc. Edward MacLysaght thought the prefix 'A' in the Irish surname Aherne, an anglicised form of old Irish ‘O’ hEachthigheirn, meant the same. In his book Some Ulster Surnames, Padrig Mac Giolla Domhnaigh clearly believed the initial 'A' meant the same as the Irish 'O'. In his comment on the surnames Milligan and Milliken, he goes one step further than most scholars, and substitutes the initial 'O' for 'A' by suggesting these surnames were of the ‘O’ Septs in Galloway, and were common in Dumfriesshire and in Northeast Ulster.


In his article The Celts (British and Gael), Prof. W. J. Watson suggested the Welsh ap in ‘Macrath ap Molegan’, who is also named in the Ragman Roll, appears to represent the initial ‘A’ found later in Cuthbert Amuligane in Nithsdale (1437), Gilbert Amuligane in Balmaclellan (1456-60), Thomas Amuligane, chaplain of Wigtown (1471-74), who is possibly the same Thomas Amuligane, burgess of Dumfries (1485). The Welsh word for son is 'ap' or 'ab' (shorten from “map” or “mab”), depending on whether it precedes a vowel or a consonant. Early examples of the patronymic and style exist in Wales, such as, Madoc ap Mailgun, hanged for the murder of William de Mora, and ‘Rhys ab Vaughan son of Rhys ab Mailgun’, which in the same text is contracted to ‘Rhys Vaughan son of Rhys Amelgun’, the ‘ab’, being shortened to ‘A’.  Rhys’ ancestor, Mailgun ap Rhys, was lord of Ceredigion 1199-1230, and is styled by King John of England as ‘Mailgon son of Rhys’ in a charter dated 11April 1199. It is also possible the scribe who recorded Macrath’s name may have confused the sounding of ‘A’ for ‘ap’, when recording his submission to Edward I, king of England, on 28 August, 1296. As ‘Makerathe Molgan’, he had his lands in the sheriffdom of Dumfries restored to him a few days later on 3 September.


The Big Tree: R-FGC4133


Within the Milligan/Milliken DNA Project, it has been known for some time that there were two major R-M222 branches and only one of these two sub-groups, called Exploratory R-M222 subgroup A and B could represent the original genetic line traced from Malgon, the eponym of the lineage name Amuligane.  In July 2014, after testing with the Big Y, the project had its first major breakthrough when two members from ‘sub-group A’, Milligan (kit no. 135550) and Milligan (12068), were assigned a SNP named FGC4133 (see above link). Since then other members have been tested, which has resulted in further branching discoveries and a new Haplotree is now being developed.  It has also been discovered the SNP mutation FGC4133 is shared with the family and surname of Grierson, believed to be the natural successors to the Griersons of Lag in Nithsdale.  To date, all the FGC4133 Milligans and Millikens tested are in Exploratory R-M222 subgroup A, and those assigned to A822 subclade are all found in Exploratory R-M222 subgroup B. The split between the FGC4133 haplogroup and the subclade A822>A984 is significant, as the latter appears to have adopted the surname Amuligane at an date, perhaps in the parish of Dunscore, where they early appear.




This family can be linked to the parish of Balmaclellan, where an old Cannon-McKinney cluster also appears in the sixteenth century.   After the forfeiture of the earldom of Galloway from James, earl of Douglas, by King James II in 1455, the king appointed William, abbot of Dundrennan, chamberlain of Galloway, a jurisdiction that effectively covered the Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire and sheriffdom of Wigtown. The following year, he produced a long list of rents and fees due to the crown. His accounts also included payments made by the king and amongst these we find the record of £32 paid by William, Abbot of Dundrennan, for 37 cows and a bull bought by the abbot and left remaining with Gilbert Amuligane in Balmaclellan in 1456. This Gilbert was called ‘keeper of king’s unbroken horses’ in 1459 and 1460, when the abbot paid him 4 bolls of oat flour for his yearly fee. At the time, Vedast Grierson of Lagg, next to Dempsterton in the parish of Dunscore, was landlord of the 12 merkland of Balmaclellan.  It seems very likely, Gilbert was the same Gilbert Malygane, who with Vedast Grierson and his son Gilbert, William Gordon and others, witnessed the sasine infefting George Cunningham, lord of Belton, in the lands and barony of Snade in the parish of Glencairn in 1472.



ACCANNANE IN GALLOWAY


In their article, The Cannan Family in Galloway, D.V. Cannon and R. C. Reid trace the history to the various branches of this family and suggest they ‘may well have come over from the north of Ireland’, where they note the ‘O’Canannans were lords of Tirconnell’, but wrongly place this region in Co. Galway. Tirconnel or Tír Conaill is the old medieval name for modern Co. Donegal. In Galloway, the earliest reference is traced to Nevin Cannan, who with others, is mentioned in a Crown Remission dated 18 April, 1477, for the slaughter of Gilbert Rorison probably of Bardannoch in the parish of Glencairn in Nithsdale. For the next 65 years, we lose sight of the Acannan family and when they re-appear, we find ‘Fergus Acannan’ witness to an Earlstoun charter of resignation on 7 August 1542. As Fergus Acannan in Allerbeg (Ellerbog), he received a crown grant of the lands of Killochy, half the lands of Knocklie and three quarters of the lands of Loganelewin extending to a 4 ½ merkland in the parish of Balmaclellan, resigned by John McKittrick in Killochy, on 7 January, 1554. It is unclear if Fergus was a brother or kinsman Sir John Cannane, canon of Abbey of Tongland, who witnessed a charter of James McMoran of Ingliston in the parish of Gelston, Kirkcudbrightshire on 17 February, 1551. On his death in March 1555, Fergus was succeeded by his son and heir, Fergus Acannane in all the lands of Killochy, pertaining to his father, the deceased Fergus Acannane in Ellerbog, which he lawfully possessed at the time of his death.


Neither Cannon nor Reid appear to have considered the possibility the Acannan may have derived their surname from a source localised in Galloway and that they may have been a branch of the Clan Connan, whose chiefs were the MacGillolane now McClellan and McLellan, discussed more fully below.  However, there suggestion that the Acannan family may well have come over from the north of Ireland would not be out place in a region that is known to have had strong ties with the northern parts of Ireland.  As far as I am aware, no male descending from the Acannan family in the parish of Balmaclellan has been genetically tested to identify its haplogroup or if it is A822, which would go some way to either ruling in or out the theory proposed that Acannans in Galloway may well have come over from the north of Ireland, where the O’Canannáin were lords of Tirconnell.  


Another family bearing the surname Cannon is known to have settled in Ulster during the Scottish settlements of the seventeenth century.  ‘John Cannan’ is listed in the c.1630 muster roll of the earl of Antrim, and lived in the barony of Dunluce. He is the same ‘John Kannon’ to whom the earl of Antrim owned £900, 0s 2d in 1638. There is no record of a John Cannon living in the barony of Dunluce in Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1669, though, there is a ‘John Cannon’ of Tobbernevaran, modern Hurtlefoot, near the town of Antrim. It is thought, Matthew Cannon, who with his wife, Eleanor McKinney and children, emigrated to North America in 1753, descend from John Cannon.  They first settled at New Castle, Delaware, where Matthew arrived from Ireland on the Dolphin.  The couple later moved to Cherry Valley in Otsego County, New York, where Matthew died in his 75 year in 1792, and his wife aged 61 years; both were Presbyterians.  The genetic subclade of Mathew Cannon of Co. Antrim appears to be A822.  



MCKINNEY IN DONEGAL AND GALLOWAY


Besides the BY586 Cannon, a family bearing the surname McKinney was also confirmed BY586, and the fore bearer is believed to have emigrated from Ulster to North America in the 1700s. Using Iain McDonalds aging method, it has been calculated that the age of the BY586 clade, the time to the most recent common ancestor shared by the two Big Y members, is likely to be about 756 years before present or to 1194, though the true date could be anywhere with a 95% confidence interval between 813 and 1537.  Although, the levels of confidence are very broad, it does indicate the Cannon and McKinney members are unlikely to be related after 1500.


Before the arrival of the Scots, the surname McKinney was uncommon in Co. Donegal. However, in the anglicised form of the Gaelic Mac Coinnigh it appears as ‘McKenny’ in the pardon rolls. In 1604, ‘Neale M'Kynny’ and ‘Donogh M'Kenny’ of Tirconnell, ‘natural followers’ of Rory O’Donnell, lord of Tirconnell, were pardoned with him for rebellion. Two McKinneys appear in the British muster rolls of c.1630.  Firstly, ‘James McKennye’ had a sword and snaphance and was a tenant of the Duke of Lennox, who held the lands of Magavelin, Lettergull and Cashel in the Portlough precinct in the civil barony of Raphoe. Secondly, ‘Gilbert McKenny’, a tenant on the estate of Alexander Stewart of Ballyweagh or Ballyneagh in the same barony. The Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1665, only list the names of Avney m’Kenny of Carrowmore in Culdaff parish and Torlagh m'Kenny in Leck parish, both in the civil barony of Inishowen. All these references place the surnames McKinney and McKenny in the northern part of the county and highlight a mixed background of both Irish and Scots.


We capture our first glimpse of the name McKinney in SW Scotland in two writs relating to Malcolm McKenney, a juror at the sheriff court of Dumfries. Respectively, in 1347 and 1367, Malcolm’s surname is spelt McKenne and McKenyn. To be a juror, Malcolm must have held property that placed an obligation of feudal service and required him to attend the sheriff's court when necessary. These jurors would have been picked from a group of men who would have had some knowledge of the lands under question, establishing if the claimant had a right to inherit the lands in question. The record of the lands held by Malcolm himself in return for feudal service have now been lost and are only clue lies in fact, he owned jury service to the sheriff court of Dumfries, whose jurisdiction in 1347 and 1367 seems to have extended from the river Cree in Galloway to Annandale in the county of Dumfries. There is a suggestion, the spelling of McKenne and McKenyn found in Malcolm’s name and in others, such as John McKinnay, whose name is also spelt McKennane, chaplain and curate of Kirkblane murdered in the 1530s, could represent a linguistic variation of Canne and Cannane. If the case, it would raise another question, could the old Acannan family of Killochy and Ellerbeg, have sprung from the same family group under a varied name?  They spelt their lineage name either with or without the prefix ‘A’ and variously as Achannane, Cannane and Cannon.


Remarkably, McKenne and McCanny have been preserved in the place-name Ironmacannie near Balmaclellan, where it first appears as Ern Canny in 1408; from then onwards, it takes several forms, including, Armakewne, Arnmakennie and Ironmacannie. In 1408, Archibald, fourth earl of Douglas, lord of Galloway, granted to Alexander Gordon ‘the lands of Schyirmes, le Park, le Contrefe, Ern Canny, Ern Macnelly, Ern MacCachy and Ern Macquilwhinny in the lordship of Galloway, the barony of Balmaclellane and constabulary of Kirkcudbright. To be held forever for one attendance yearly at one court to be held immediately after Easter at the principal place of the said barony’. The element Ern, the Scottish Gaelic erann, means a portion, and the four place-names beginning with the element Ern seem to echo portions of land inherited by the Canny, Macnelly, MacCathy and Macqilqwhinny. Ern Canny was one of four properties comprising the 12 merkland of Balmaclellan documented in a royal confirmation of a grant by Vedast Grierson of Lagg to John M’Lelane identified as the ‘son of Dungal Johnson’ in 1466. The 12 merkland was particularised as the lands of ‘Armakcwne (Ironmacannie), Trechanis (Troquhain), Blaranny (Blairinnie) and Blackcraig.








Created 17/4/15, updated 28/6/15 and 09/09/15