Click on this chart to see a skeleton tree of the entire Kaighin family. All 11 extant branches are represented.
*** If we have previously corresponded, please contact me again with any new Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Death info so I can update the database***
Welcome to Manannan’s Horsemen, the Kaighin genealogy web forum and repository. This is a one name study of the Manx derivatives of the Celtic surname MacEachan.
Please keep in mind that this one name study is a work in progress and as such, there are errors and omissions both known and unknown contained in the database and on the charts on this website. Do not assume accuracy! This is a collaborative effort by many Kaighins and descendants of Kaighins all over the world and it is for that effort that I share this information.
I respond to every email I receive, typically within 2-3 days. If you have attempted to contact me in the past and have not received a reply, please email me again.
On these pages, I use the spelling “Kaighin” when speaking in general terms since the majority of Kaighins alive today retain this spelling.
So feel free to browse around and if you have any questions or would like to submit anything concerning Kaighin family genealogy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I need from you?
First, a Word About Pronunciation…
The name has three very different pronunciations, depending on where you are. In the Isle of Man, it is still pronounced the old Manx way, like "Cack'n", with the "ck" mashed together like the "ch" sound in Scottish "loch". You can hear the late Dr. Brian Stowell on Manx Radio discussing this here. Also, the learnmanx.com website has another example here. The New Jersey Kaighns descend from John Kaighin who emigrated to America as an indentured servant in 1683. At some point about two generations on, the family dropped the second "i" and it thus became spelled as "Kaighn", which they pronounce like "Cain". This pronunciation has been in effect since at least 1776, when future U.S. President John Adams wrote this letter to his wife Abigail. The rest of the family (Kaighins, Keighins, Kaighans and Kaighens) pronounce it anglicized like "Reagan". This pronunciation is consistent around the world with the two exceptions noted above.
Our name is derived from MacEachan which is a Gaelic Celtic patronymic surname meaning “son of Hector”. In Gaelic, Eachan or Eachainn was a common given name in Scotland and Ireland, and a contraction of Each donne, which meant either “brown horse” or “horse lord” depending on interpretation. The surname sprung up independently across the Gaelic speaking world many times over as the use of patronymics in surnames took hold around 1000 years ago, and is still reflected in many extant modern equivalents such as MacCaughan, MacGahen, McCoin, and McKaughan. When our MacEachan ancestor arrived in the Isle of Man around 700 years ago the few scribes of the day would have spelled it however they saw fit. In the first known written record of our surname in 1422, it was spelled McCaighen. The next time it can be found was in circa 1490, where Johan (John) McCaghyn and his son Richard were recorded as tenant landholders of our ancestral quarterland property of Ballakaighin.
Johan McCaghyn et fil Ricd
(John McCaghyn and son Richard)
from Lib Vast entry for Kirk German parish, circa 1490
(Click to view full image)
From then until about 1580, it was spelled in various records as McCaighen or McKaighin or similar. In the period between 1560 and 1580, most “Mac” names in the Isle of Man underwent a transformation whereby the “Ma” part was dropped leaving the phonetic “K” stump, so today nearly all former “Mac” names start with “C”, “K” and “Q”. Even in those early days, our name was almost exclusively spelled with a K, although there are a few examples of Caighens in the record. Until literacy took hold on a wide scale in the mid-19th century, the spelling was generally up to the parish clerk to determine. And where that clerk held office for many years, the spelling for the Kaighins in his parish would remain consistent in the record during his term of office (which often was for life). But once a new clerk took office, the spelling would reflect that new clerk’s preference. Once literacy took hold between about 1830 and 1850, the spelling generally was settled to what we all have today: Kaighin, Kaighen and Kaighan. There are two notable exceptions. Those with the spelling Keighin are descended from David Keighin who emigrated to America in 1850. David bought property in Tennessee in a small town on the Mississippi River. The clerk recording this transaction misspelled his name and he carried that spelling forward for the rest of his life. Now all of his numerous descendants in America spell their name that way. Also, as mentioned above, the descendants of John Kaighin of New Jersey spell their name Kaighn.
Data Sources and Interest Items
I am no longer maintaining the Kaighin Family Photo Album. Please instead, share your photos on the . All photos, past and present are always welcome. If you would like to share your photos, but they are not in digital format, please email me for my address. All photos will be scanned and promptly returned.
Updated June 29th, 2008
A list of Kaighin researchers. Any new contacts are added to this list and I’ve attempted to group the contacts by branch (I stopped updating this in 2008).
Kaighin Researchers (old)
April 9th, 2007
consolidated several indexes of burials, deaths and wills for Kaighins in the
January 13th, 2006
The Kaighin census project is now complete. 142 Kaighin families are represented in 481 census images covering the period of 1841-1930 (1940 US and 1911 UK censuses forthcoming)
May 3rd, 2005
Handwritten notes compiled by the late Philip Allen of Kaighins found in the parish registers of Bride and Jurby and the town of Ramsey, Isle of Man. Also contains a re-transcription with remarks and a cross reference to the family numbers in my database. There are 341 transcribed records.
April 4th, 2005
Kaighins found in City Directories in England 1870-1915.
March 31st, 2005
Kaighins found in Manx Directories between 1823~1895.
These can be found at A Manx Notebook
Kaighins in Directories (Sorted by Name)
Kaighins in Directories (Sorted by Parish)
Kaighins in Directories (Sorted by Year)
March 27th, 2005
Kaighins found in various BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death) sites in the
Kaighins in UK (Sorted by Name)
Kaighins in UK (Sorted by Date)
Kaighins in UK (Sorted by Where Registered)
March 20th, 2005
Records of Kaighins collected from various sources. Organized by State or Province.
January 19th 2005
American Kaighins found in ship’s manifests. Most of these can be found at the Ellis Island website.
November 20th 2004
International Genealogical Index (IGI) for all Kaighins in the
November 16th 2004
analysis of the surname Kaighin as found in the International Genealogical
Index (IGI) for the
March 9th, 2015
Can the Kaighin family claim a Coat of Arms?
A discussion on the Manx Genealogy Bulletin Board regarding the dropping of “Mac/Mc and Ine” from Manx surnames prior to between 1560 and 1580.
September 29th, 2004
Brian Stowell on
Manx Radio in the
Kaighin (audio link)
September 27th 2004
Several pages of
discussion about the origins of the Kaighin name and how we came to the
Origins 5 – Excerpts from a website of MacEachain genealogy
Origins 6 – This is an offsite link for McEachin genealogy
Origins 7 – The earliest references to a Kaighin (Finlo McCaighen) in 1422 in the Isle of Man. He was quartered for participating in an uprising against Governor of the island.
Origins 8 – A list of derivatives of MacEachain and a discussion about the origin of the clan. (Work in Progress)
Kaighins extracted from Rolls and Property Records from Kirk German Parish between 1680 and 1869. I plan to go through this and attempt to document land ownership and cross to the families in the database. Thanks to Frances Coakley.
Kaighins from the Manorial Rolls of 1511 and 1515 in the Isle of Man. Thanks to Frances Coakley for transcribing.
The trial of two women, Alice Cowley and Isabel Gawn who were accused of witchcraft in 1712. They are not Kaighins but it makes for interesting reading. There was one Kaighin, a Bahee (Corjeage) Kaighin who was accused and acquitted of witchcraft after a heifer she touched died shortly thereafter.
Thomas Kelly was
one of the early Manx immigrants to
The diary of Manxman Thomas Taggart. A very descriptive account of Manx life in 1877. Not a Kaighin.
(This is an offsite link)
The Manx Genealogy Bulletin Board. (This is an offsite link). I visit this site daily. There are many very experienced Manx genealogists that are willing to answer questions and provide help.
A genealogical study of the Kaighins in the Isle of Man by Mormon genealogist Archibald F. Bennett in 1956. I have studied Mr. Bennett’s work and have concluded that there are too many errors to consider this a valid source.
The Kaighin Family of Kirk Michael and Kirk German Parishes, (PDF Version – Printable)
The Kaighin Y-DNA Project is complete. The Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) for all living Kaighins was Gilchrist McCaighen and was born about 1511 at Ballakaighin, Kirk German, Isle of Man. Our earliest known ancestor traceable in the records is Gilchrist’s grandfather John McCaghyn who was born about 1439.
The structure of the tree is now correct. The two different types of Y-DNA tests (SNPs and STRs) as shown in the chart both agree with the genealogy. So, if you have downloaded a previous version (or have a printed copy), please discard. For those with a printed copy, I will be sending out replacements in due course.
Our Kaighin cluster is now on the YFull tree under I1 / Z140 / A196 / A1395 / A5554. A5554 is the SNP identified as belonging to Gilchrist McCaighen, so all living male Kaighins carry this SNP.
A comprehensive report of the results of the Y-DNA testing is forthcoming. I will also be writing reports for each branch of the family.
How to Find Your Kaighin Ancestors
I have so far been able to identify most living Kaighins worldwide. Every living Kaighin fits into one of 11 branches. Each branch can be found in the database and in the charts below. While the charts are updated often, they may contain stale data, so the most current (and correct) data can always be found in the Kaighin Genealogy Database. When you open the database, you will see a list of all people born with the surname Kaighin. Find yourself or an ancestor and click on the “Family Number” link in the left-hand column. This will bring up a form that will show all the data for that family. You can then navigate up and down the generations using the “Parent Family” and “Child Family” links.
If you can’t use the database, then select one of links below for the chart of your branch. If you do not know which branch you are in, please email me at email@example.com and I will let you know.
Updated January 23rd, 2021
The following link is the database being compiled of all Kaighins found in records from circa 1490 A.D. to the present. There are currently 3872 Kaighins listed in 835 unique families, including 592 known living individuals who either were born with the name Kaighin (or variant) or married into the Kaighin family. Microsoft Access must be installed on your computer to view it. The database is updated frequently, so check back often. Due to sensitive data of living individuals contained within, I will need to verify your identity before allowing you to view the data in the database, so a password is required to view it. Please email me for the password at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have Microsoft Access, please contact me and I will send you the information you need.
The Kaighin Branches
All branch charts updated October 3rd, 2020
The following links will open charts for each branch. The links will open a PDF file of the chart within your browser. Due to the size of these charts, it is recommended to download the PDF and open it in your computer’s native PDF viewer (like Adobe Acrobat), then zoom and pan to make it readable. To download the PDF chart, open the link in your browser, then click on the download button as shown here:
The charts posted below do not contain private data of living individuals. If you would like the full chart that does not obscure private data, you may download that here. This is a password protected file. Please send password requests to email@example.com. This chart is also available in our Facebook discussion group.
~Current spellings: Kaighin and Kaighan
~Current living members: 18
~Found in: England, Isle of Man, and California and Texas, USA
~Descendants of Richard McCaighen who, with his father John, owned the entirety of the quarterland of Ballakaighin from before 1490. All branches below are sub-branches of the Ballakaighin Kaighin branch.
~Current spelling: Kaighn
~Current living members: 11 (although there are 248 living Kaighns descended from Elias Kaighn/Cain - see notes under “New Jersey Kaighns” below.)
~ Found in: Oklahoma, USA
~Descended from John Kaighin who purchased a 2/3 share of the estate of Ballacregga, Kirk Michael in 1603. John’s Great Grandson John, the son of John Kaighin and Jane Cannell of Ballacregga emigrated to America in 1682 and became an indentured servant. Following his indenture, he became a very successful linener, carpenter and landowner and owned approximately one third of what is now Camden, New Jersey. They spell their name Kaighn and pronounce it “Cain.” Today, there is only one family descended from the immigrant John Kaighin, and that is the family of Bill Kaighn in Norman, Oklahoma. All other Kaighns alive today are descended from Elias Kaighn / Cain of the New Jersey Kaighns (see below).
A letter from
February 22nd, 2006
The following link contains the chapter “John Kaighin and Some of His Descendants” from A Historical Sketch of Camden written in 1909 by Howard M. Cooper and edited in 1931 by Emily Cooper Johnson (Camden, N.J.: Printed by Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. 1931) – Submitted by Rob Kaighn. One note to mention; on pages 109-110 the author concludes that John’s Great Grandson Joseph was responsible for dropping the second i in Kaighin for this branch. This is incorrect. The name was spelt this way as early as 1775 and probably earlier (refer to John Adams’ letter above.)
March 21st, 2006
In 1920 Charles S. Boyer wrote a detailed study of the New Jersey Kaighns. Please note that his conclusions regarding Elias Kaighn Sr. and his descendants were incorrect as discussed elsewhere on this website.
John Kaighn and His Descendants (Web version)
John Kaighn and His Descendants (PDF version - Printable)
~Current spellings: Kaighin and Kaighan
~Current living members: 38
~Found in: Canada and Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England
~Descendants of Robert Kaighin and Margaret Savage who married in 1657. Y-DNA testing results prove that this branch is a sub-branch of the Ballacregga Kaighn Branch and is connected to the Ramsey Kaighen Branch. Read about that here. Robert was the son of John Kaighin who purchased a 2/3 share of Ballacregga, Kirk Michael in 1603.
~Former location of y Phurt, Kirk Michael (lost to coastal erosion)
April 23rd, 2005
discussion page for Sue Rankin and Sue Sides of Barrow in
October 22nd 2004
I have been
working with Ron Kaighin of
August 9th 2004
A submission by Ron Kaighin and Leslie Erdman
~Current spellings: Kaighen and Kaighin
~Current living members: 81
~Found in: Isle of Man, England, Scotland, Australia, Honduras and Texas, USA
~Descendants of Thomas Kaighin and Catharine Gawne who married 13 Jul 1819 in Kirk Maughold, Isle of Man. Thomas and Catherine resided in the town of Ramsey as do many of his descendants even today. I do not know who Thomas’ parents were, however, DNA testing proves that he is descended from Robert Kaighin, progenitor of The Phurt Kaighin Branch. So, members of this branch are also descended from the John Kaighin who purchased a 2/3 share of Ballacregga, Kirk Michael in 1603.
~Current spelling: Kaighin
~Current living members: 30
~Found in: Isle of Man and England
~Descendants of John Kaighin and Eleanor Cowley who married 12 Oct 1745 in Kirk Onchan, Isle of Man. Their son Thomas Kaighin farmed at Lhergydhoo, Kirk German. This branch is a sub-branch of the Scaresdale Kaighin Branch.
~Current spellings: Kaighin and Keighin
~Current living members: 87
~Found in: Scotland, Australia, Canada and Illinois and Colorado, USA. Nearly all Kaighins in Australia come from this branch and are descended from immigrants Thomas Kaighin and Jane Caine who arrived in Victoria in 1852. All Keighins who spell their name this way are likewise descended from David Keighin and Mary Anne Cowley who emigrated to America in 1850. David was the brother of Thomas.
~Descendants of William Kaighin and Joney Mylrea who married about 1583. William purchased a half share of the quarterland of Scaresdale, Kirk German in 1592.
~Read about how the mystery of John Kaighin (Family 7600) was solved here.
~The Curragh, Corvalley, Kerrowglass and Lhergydhoo Kaighin branches are sub-branches of the Scaresdale Kaighin branch.
April 17th, 2006
A biographical sketch of John Richard Kaighin,
author of Bygone
~Current spelling: Kaighin
~Current living members: 52
~Found in: Texas County, Missouri and Longview, Washington, USA
~Descendants of John Kaighin and Eleanor Kaighin who married 15 April 1729 in Kirk Michael, Isle of Man. Their 3G Grandson John Beddow Kaighin was born in Chicago in 1884. All Kaighins alive today that come from this branch are descendants of John Beddow Kaighin and his wife Annie Mary Castleman. Ancestors in this branch resided at the farm of Lower Ballakaighin and farmed Corvalley in Kirk German, Isle of Man. This branch is a sub-branch of the Scaresdale Kaighin Branch.
February 15th, 2006
During a visit
to the Isle of Man in 1999, I received from Ann and Jack Kaighin of the Isle
of Man Family History Society 11 letters written by sisters Lizzie and Nessy Kaighin to their brother John who emigrated to
Yukon, Missouri. Ann and Jack had
received the letters from Roger Holder, great grandson of John Kaighin. They
are families 15200 and 18600 in my database.
Many Kaighins now living in
Some of the letters to John were addressed to
~Current spellings: Kaighen and Kaighin
~Current living members: 115
~Found in: Isle of Man, England, Wales, Australia, Spain and Macon Co., Missouri and Michigan, USA
~Descendants of Hugh Kaighin and Catharine Killey who married 5 Jul 1787 in Kirk Michael, Isle of Man. Hugh purchased a parcel of the quarterland of Kerrowglass, Kirk Michael (Lower Kerrowglass) and passed this on to his eldest son Charles. This branch is a sub-branch of the Corvalley Kaighin Branch.
~Current spellings: Kaighin and Kaighan
~Current living members: 39
~Found in: Isle of Man, England and Kansas, USA
~Descendants of John Kaighin and Joney Kelly who married about 1706 and whose son Thomas resided at the Curragh, Jurby. This branch is a sub-branch of the Scaresdale Branch.
A Manx language
sample of John Thomas Kaighin, recorded in 1950. John Thomas was the oldest of 14. He was born in Kirk Bride,
~Current spelling: Kaighin
~Current living members: 108
~Found in: Sweden, Bahamas, and Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio, USA (but widely dispersed from there)
~Descendants of Thomas Kaighin and Eleanor Cannell who married about 1610. Thomas was the tenant of Ballaquine farm on the northern border of Kirk German parish. Their GG Grandson John Kaighin married Elizabeth “Bessy” Nichol 18 Jan 1766 in Kirk Michael, Isle of Man. Two of their sons emigrated to the US. They were John and Charles. John married Eleanor Cannell and emigrated to New York in 1826 with seven of their 13 children. Charles emigrated in 1855 following his son Charles who had emigrated in 1852. This family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. I am from this line. This branch is a sub-branch of the Ballakaighin Kaighin Branch.
March 7th, 2007
had previously concluded that the branch I had referred to on this website as
“The Other Cleveland” branch were descended from Thomas Kaighin and Margaret
Quayle. I have now received new
information that not only disproves this, but also links my branch of
Kaighins with “The Other Cleveland” branch.
I am posting a letter for anyone from the Ballaquine Kaighin Branch to
examine. The letter was written by my
GGG Grandfather, Charles Kaighin in the Isle of Man on 9 September, 1841 to
his nephew, Charles Kaighin, son of John Kaighin and Eleanor Cannell in
Manhattan, New York. Any Kaighin
descended from any lines going through
June 18th 2007
A problem that has dogged my research since I started this project was the mystery of my GG Grandmother, Margaret (nee Christian) Kaighin. I had not been able to connect her to any family in the Isle of Man.
Margaret Kaighin (nee Christian) – Web version
Margaret Kaighin (nee Christian) – Printable PDF version
I’ve twice now heard that my GG Grandmother, Margaret (als Christian) Kaighin was somehow connected to Fletcher Christian of HMS Bounty fame. The prevailing family rumor is that she was a direct descendant. The following link is a Christian family chart drawn exclusively from A.W. Moore’s Manx Families, “Christian’s of Milntown, Isle of Man and Ewanrigg Hall, Cumberland.” Based on the above piece, I still cannot link Margaret with Fletcher Christian.
A submission from Jim Kaighin in The Bahamas which he received from Florence Lyon on some of the descendants of John Kaighin and Elizabeth “Bessy” Nichol.
August 25th, 2006
William Kaighin of Orange, California, son of Arthur Gale Kaighin provided several items regarding the Ballaquine Kaighin Branch. He also sent me a copy of Florence Lyon’s genealogy chart. This chart is too big to post to this website, but all of the data is incorporated into the database above.
January 15th 2005
of Kaighins buried in
A page created
for a discussion with my first cousin (once removed) Kay (Pintner)
November 10th 2004
Monumental Inscription and Census Records for my 3 Great Grandparents Charles Kaighin and Ellen Killey and their family.
May 22, 2004
My Great Grandfather Charles W. Kaighin published a piece of devotional literature, Paradise Restored. The following link contains a discussion of some of the clues in the piece:
May 28, 2004 (updated January 4, 2016)
A full transcript of Paradise Restored.
A discussion with two members of the Pacific Garden Mission regarding Paradise Restored
A timeline of events for Charles W. Kaighin
Data from various sources of descendants of Charles Kaighin and Margaret Kaighin
A song written by my Great Grandfather, Charles W. Kaighin:
Article written in The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1935 Re Charles W. Kaighin
March 22nd, 2005
Cuyahoga County (
Cuyahoga County Land Records (Sorted by date)
Cuyahoga County Land Records (Sorted by name)
Cuyahoga County Land Records (Sorted by legal description)
~Current spelling: Kaighin
~Current living members: 13
~Found in: England and South Africa
~Descendants of Henry Kaighin and Margaret Tear who married about 1713 in the Isle of Man and resided in the village of Ballasalla in Kirk Malew. This branch is a sub-branch of the Ballaquine Kaighin Branch.
January 30th, 2006
page for Brian Kaighin in
~Current spelling: Kaighn
~Current living members: 248
~Descended from Elias Cain / Kaighn Sr. and Mary Shillingford.
~We have found that the Y-DNA of the descendants of Elias Kaighn do not match the rest of the Kaighin family. We have done extensive research and have now concluded that Elias Kaighn (d. 1830) was not actually a Kaighn, and that he was born a CAIN. Due to illiteracy, and his proximity to actual Kaighns in Gloucester, New Jersey, record keepers began spelling his name Kaighn and by the time his 13 children became literate, the spelling had stuck.
~There is an ong0ing Y-DNA project with the goal of finding Elias Kaighn’s parents. I am looking for volunteers to take over this research since it is outside the scope of my project. Read about that here:
January 15th, 2006
Raymond Pimlott Kaighn of
the New Jersey Kaighns played in the first ever basketball game. The game was invented by Dr. James Naismith
and was first played in December of 1891 at the
Submissions, corrections or suggestions gratefully
received by the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2004 - 2021, Gregory D. Kaighin, All rights reserved
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