Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Finding the McCains: A Scots Irish Odyssey

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I've been meaning to highlight this book for some time. There is a Finding the McCains group on Facebook. Published in December 2014 and written by Mississippi-based Barry McCain, a long-time reader of this blog, it is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The Amazon summary reads as follows:

'Finding the McCains,' is an account of one Mississippi McCain’s 40 year odyssey to find his family in Ireland. Senator John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabeth Spencer, both include a short history of the Mississippi McCain family in their respective memoirs 'Faith of our Fathers' and 'Landscapes of the Heart.' This 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, InĂ­on Dubh, Mary Queen of Scots, the Earls of Argyll, the Ulster Migration, and the Scots-Irish, are all part of this family’s story. Faint memories of this past were told for generations in Mississippi and as the research progressed the facts behind these memories were uncovered. 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 also a genetic genealogy how-to guide for people of Irish and Scottish ancestry. 

Barry is prolific - he is also the author of The Laggan Redshanks, the Highland Scots in West Ulster, 1568–1630, he blogs regularly here and also runs UlsterHeritage.com