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Keane Coat of Arms / Keane Family Crest

Keane Coat of Arms / Keane Family Crest

KEANE is a variant of the Ulster name O'Cahan. It is O'CEIN in Irish, which embodies the personal name CIAN. They were chiefs of Limavady and the Rout, county Londonderry, and they were descended from the race of O'Neill and deriving their surname from Cahan. Chief of the Sept. Tenth in descent from him was Manus O'Cahan, Chief of the sept killed at the battle of Down A.D.1260. His descendant Sir Donal O'Cahan was knighted on 28th June 1607. The name has many variant spellings which include KANE, CANE, KEANE and CAHAN. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surname. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and was deemed a disgrace for a gentleman to have but one single name.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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