O'Kane Family History
The family history of the ancient name O'Kane was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. There were two great septs of O'Cathain. The early anglicized form of the name was O'Cahan, but in modern times the forms Keane, Kane, O'Kane, MacCloskey and MacEvinney are most often used. The O'Kanes of Keenaght and Coleraine were a powerful and important sept. Once established there they retained their ascendancy in the County, which is now County Derry, until they were ruined by the Plantation of Ulster. Many of the sept appear in the Annals from the year 1170 onwards. The MacCloskeys of County Derry are a branch of the O'Kanes, being descended from Closkey O'Kane. Another branch anglicized their name as MacEvinney or MacAvinny, their ancestor being Aibhne O'Cathain. The O'Kane family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including O'Kane descendants.