Where does the name cain originate

+6 votes
asked in Genealogy Help by

5 Answers

+3 votes
Surnames are relatively recent things, so it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exact origins. Regarding the surname Cain, there are a number of possible origins:

1. English It could be a nickname for a person who collected canes/reeds for weaving

2. From the city of Caen in Normandy

3. Welsh, being a form of "cain' = beautiful

The only way you could know which of these, if any,your Cains come from is to trace it back to the original holders of the name.
answered by Susan Scarcella G2G6 Mach 6 (66.6k points)
+4 votes

The Bible: Genesis 4 - "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord" (KJV)

Of course, I don't know how it was spelled in the original language, but it probably sounded like Cain.

answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
has to be the origen of the name. definitely the most ancient source kown for the name.
+2 votes

An insight to the Cain name from a Manx (and Irish) perspective.

CAIN, or CAINE, contracted from Mac Cathain, ' Cathan's son.' This name may be rendered 'warrior' (cath 'a battle.')

The O'CATHAINS, now O'KANES, were of the race of Eoghan, who was son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, Monarch of Ireland, who died A.D. 406.

The race of EOGHAN of valiant arms,
Who have obtained the palm for greatness without fraud,
The acme of the nobility of Erin.'*

EOGHAN UA CATHAIN, abbot . . . died,' A.D. 980+

Compare (Irish) KANE and O'KANE.

McKANE [1408], MAC CANN [1430], MAC CANE [1511], CAIN [1586], CANE [1601], CAINE [1609], CAYNE [1610].


From The Manx Notebook


answered by John Wheeler G2G Rookie (260 points)
Cain does, as John Wheeler says, derive from the Gaelic Christian name Catháin, which I turn gave rise to Ua Catháin (later O Catháin) in several locations in Ireland, and to MacCathdin on the Isle of Man. The most powerful were the O Catháin clan of Co Derry, from which clan about a third if Cain’s descend. The next most common sources are the O Catháin clan of south Galway and the O Catháin clan who held O’Cahanes Castle on Iniscatha in the Shannon estuary. The Eoghan Ua Catháin, Abbot of Clonfert, Co Gslway was most likely a member of the south Galway O Catháin clan. He may be the first recorded O Catháin.

From DNA results there are other smaller sources of the name in Ireland, Scotland and England, of more recent date than the O Catháin clans of south Galway and Co Derry.
+2 votes
All good answers.  Here's mine.  Cain is one example of many surnames that originated in many different places at many different times in many different languages without any connection to others with the same, or similar, name.  I know many are compelled to search for a definite origin, and that knowledge lends to one's own identity and ownership.  But, I have less need for that and I am more able to believe no definite origin can be found for most surnames, at least mine, which are Lake and Green.  I wish you good fortune on your quest.
answered by Steve Lake G2G5 (5.4k points)
+1 vote
At the Cain DNA project we find that about 1/3rd of our members have the Y-DNA of the O’Cahan clan of north Derry & north Antrim. Following them are several smaller O’Cahan clans from other parts of Ireland, including Galway and Clare.

If one looks at the IGI, Cain and Caine from the Isle of Man appear to predominate. But this is only because the parish registers survived on the Isle of Man whereas in Ireland the church was persecuted for centuries by foreign rule, hanging of priests, burning of churches, so that in the finish the Catholic Church refused to obey an English edict to hand over their parish registers. That necessitated the researcher knowing exactly what parish church their ancestors visited, and going there in person to peruse the registers. The Church of Ireland obeyed the edict, handed over their registers, which were destroyed by artillery shelling the Fourt Courts building where rebel’s were holed up. So missing Irish Parish Register entries did not reflect that most Cains are Irish.

Cains from the Isle of Man make up one of the smaller groups in the Cain DNA project. The other sources that some claim such as Norman and Welsh may be speculation as there don’t appear to be any in the Cain DNA project. There are some from Scotland and some from England, but in small numbers. So the Gaelic Irish O Cathain would appear to account for most golfers if the name today.
answered by Rory Cain G2G6 (7.9k points)

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