History of the Kane Family
a brief history of the Kane family
If you are lucky enough to be Irish… you are lucky enough!
The story of the Kane family rightfully starts in Ireland, from wince it was descended. At this point in the research, it is unsure if the original family surname was Kane, Kean, O’Kane, McKane or MacKane. At this time, it appears the surname was either Kane or Kean, as the progenitors of our family lineage: Daniel Kane emigrated to this country from County Cork, Ireland, in approximately 1856.
Family tradition states that Daniel Kane and his mother: Mary Kane emigrated from Ireland, to the American port city of New York. At that time, the people of New York City despised the newly arrived immigrants, fearing that they would take away any job opportunities from native Americans. As a result, there was much prejudice against the Irish immigrants and most of the newly arrived Irish were forced to live in the slum areas, paying outrageous housing rents, and relegated to only the most menial of jobs, when jobs were available. The high unemployment rate of the Irish immigrants, resulted in many turning to alcohol for a temporary escape from the grim realities of their lives. The result of the drunken Irish being arrested by the city police, gave rise to the term “Paddy Wagon”, for the name of many of the Irish being called “Paddy”, and the manner in which they were hauled off to jail, in a horse drawn wagon.
The Catholic Church was a central part in the lives of most Irish immigrants, providing not only religious guidance, but also social functions and help for families and orphans. It was at an Irish dance in New York City, that Daniel Kane met his future wife: Catherine (or Katherine) Hegarty.
Catherine Hegarty emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, fleeing from a pre-arranged marriage by her father to a rich man of dubious character, who it was rumored, had fathered an illegitimate child with his maid. Catherine Hegarty emigrated to New York City in approximately 1858, where she met Daniel Kane at the aforementioned Irish dance.
In 1859, Daniel Kane, his wife: Catherine (Hegarty), and Daniel’s mother: Mary Kane, had settled in Georgetown, now part of northwest Washington, D.C. .
The 1860 Census for Georgetown, Washington D.C., page 105, that was taken on June 16, 1860, listed Daniel Kane as Daniel A. Kean, living in dwelling #684, with another listed family of the name of Daley. It is interesting to note that Daniel’s mother: Mary Kane was listed as Mary Kean residing with the Daley family in the same house as Daniel Kane. The 1860 census showed the following:
dwelling # 684 family # 728
Daniel Kean w/m/25 laborer, born: Ireland,cannot read or write
(wife) Kate w/f/27 born: Ireland, can read and write
(daughter) Mary w/f/1 born: Wash. D.C.
dwelling # 684 family # 729
Timothy Daley w/m/28 laborer, born: Ireland,cannot read or write
(wife) Mary w/f/25 born: Ireland, cannot read or write
(son) John w/m/1 born: Wash. D.C.
(relation not stated) Mary Kean w/f/61 born: Ireland, cannot read or write
The census records subsequent to the census record of 1860 for Georgetown, Wash. D.C., indicates Daniel Kane with the surname of only Kane, and not Kean. Family traditions always stated that Daniel Kane had changed the supposed surname of O’Kane to that of Kane, once he reached the United States, but the 1860 census records indicate the possibility of the true surname being Kean (or Kane,with the census -taker spelling Kane as Kean or misunderstanding the name of Kane as Kean; mistakes were made by census-takers) and not O’Kane.
Daniel Kane spoke the Gaelic language, which was the native tongue of most Irish, who were descended from the Celts. Daniel’s family had been farmers in County Cork, Ireland. Daniel’s wife: Catherine Hegarty, being from a more affluent family, could read and write the English language. Although Catherine undoubtedly attempted to teach Daniel to read and write, he was always listed in the census records as being unable to read and write the English language. And it is probable that Daniel Kane always spoke the English language with a strong Gaelic brogue accent.
One thing that quickly became obvious while researching the genealogy of the Kane and related families was the common trait of their hard work and perseverance against overwhelming circumstances. Daniel Kane started life in the United States as a poor immigrant but through his hard work and perseverance improved his station in life whereby he owned numerous valuable homes and properties in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.; and such was the manner of the several related families.