A Kaighin Coat of Arms?

Updated March 9th, 2015


            For any Kaighin wondering if our family has an official Coat of Arms or other armorial bearings, the best answer I can give is… no.  With the exception of a couple of prominent families, there are no recognized Manx family arms.  A very critical discussion of this topic can be found here.  According to someone named Minniebell Perkins, prior to his death in 1981, Chevelier John Alexander McCaughan, 43rd Head of the house of McCaughan, the last recognized chief of Clan MacEachain, wrote in a report for the Heraldry of Ireland that the surname “Kaighin” and its Manx variants (i.e. Kaighen, Kaighan, Caighan, etc.) was a phonetic derivative of MacEachain and bearers of the name were clan members.  I can unequivocally state that the Manx Kaighins are NOT members of Clan MacEachain.  Our MacEachan ancestor arrived in the Isle of Man just prior to the turn of the 12th century, well before the clan system developed in Scotland, so any allegiance or family connection to those with the same name in Scotland was lost long before there was an official clan. 

            Many of the online Coat of Arms retailers and the “fast fact genealogists” who want to sell you their product will tell you that the Kaighins are descended from Clan MacEachan, the hereditary chiefs of ClanRanald of MacDonald, and thus have you believe that we are MacDonalds.  This myth is borne from a flawed assumption based solely on the fact that Kaighin is a phonetic derivative of MacEachan.  While this fact is true, the ClanRanald MacEachans are descended from Eachann MacRory, born c.1450, the second son of Roderick (Rory) MacAllen, third chief of ClanRanald of MacDonald.  The MacEachans (Kaighins) were established long before this in the Isle of Man, so any allegiance or family connection to those with the same surname in Scotland was lost long before there was an official clan.  I was taken in by this myth early in my research, because the earliest records I had known about referring to Kaighins in the Isle of Man were the Manorial Rolls of 1515.  The existence of a handful of Kaighins at that time made for a plausible scenario even if they would have had to have been sons or grandsons of Eachann MacRory.  Further research revealed evidence of Kaighins as early as about 1200 residing in Kirk German, Isle of Man, where BallaKaighin (Kaighin’s farm) in that parish was their likely residence and is still there as a testament to their existence.  So, in case you’ve already purchased one of these MacDonald Coat of Arms, I’m here to tell you it’s rubbish. 



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