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& Other Variations
The below information was provided by the participant or his representative and may contain errors.
Presentations vary depending on the information provided.

Alasdair MacNeil 1705, Scotland


DNA results place participant in
Family Group 3- CT Keeney
It is not known at this time if the common ancestor lived before the existence of surnames or if a non-paternal event took place in one of the lines. See below remarks.


Participant 62980

1) Alasdair MacNeil,
b. about 1795, Scotland, d. about 1860. According to family tradition, Alasdair "Mor" came to Nova Scotia around 1817 to 1821 on the "Harmony" or the "William Tell". I think it was the William Tell in 1817. This is the line on Alasdiar and the wife he brought over from Brevheig or Brevig, Island of Barra: Married Feb. 9, 1813, Alexander MacNeil, s/o Neil MacNeil in Brevheig, to Catharine MacNeil, d/o Allan MacNeil & Rachel MacPhee in Quire. Alasdair "Mor" and Catherine gave birth to several children. Alexander, Jr.

2) Alexander Jr. "Mor" MacNeil, b. about 1834 in Gillis Point (next to Maskills Harbour), Cape Breton.
Married Sarah MacKenzie and had several children; James S. (1874) was my grandfather.

3) James S. MacNeil, b. 1874, married Mary Jane MacNeil from Iona, Cape Breton, they had several children.

4) Alexander Neil MacNeil, b. 1919, married Mary Josephine (1925) in Sydney, Cape Breton during the post war days.

5) Participant 62980
I was a late comer. My father was 50 and mother was 44 years when I was born in Nova Scotia.
Traditionally, all MacNeils descend from forebears who lived on a small number of islands in the Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, especially the island of Barra. During the Highland clearings of the early 1800's, most MacNeil families that left Barra, with a small Colonsay contingent, settled in Nova Scotia - especially Cape Breton Island.

Cape Breton is home to the largest group of MacNeils outside Scotland. Likely over 80% of all MacNeils that have ever left Scotland can trace roots to the Cape Breton area. The MacNeils have always been one major component for keeping the Scottish tradition alive in Cape Breton. My grand father used to play the bag pipes for Alexander Graham Bell when Bell would moor his yacht in Maskills Harbour on my grand father's property line. When my father was 5 years old (back in 1924), he could only speak Gaelic. He never spoke English until he went to school. This was common in Cape Breton until about WWII, when the world shrunk dramatically

Interestingly, there is the Kinney name in the Little Narrows Cemetery located several miles from Gillis Point:
Row 36 south to north:
[white wooden cross]
Rachel MacDonald 1892 1984
Hugh 1917 1996
John Kinney 1922 1998
Donalda Kinney 1919 - 1983

Presently, one Kinney entry is found in this year's white pages for Orangedale, several miles further-down the road.

I've had someone check the Barra Island Parrish records and there are no listings for either Kinney or Keeney, going back into the 1800's.

There is the possibility of unrecorded changes to family lines. For example, as you probably know, a common tradition among similar small communities was for a given family to raise children who were orphaned because of family tragedy. It wasn't uncommon for families to take children with different surnames and treat them as if they were born into the family. This is one possible explanation.


Keeney of CT researcher (R) states [minor edits]:
Due to the strictures of yDNA, we have to be related entirely in the male line. This means that one of us had a male ancestor who was fathered by a Keeney (in your case) or a MacNeil (in our case). As if we didn't have enough mysteries.... Our most remote ancestor was an Alexander Keeney who died in Connecticut in 1680. There was a tradition during the 1800's that the first Keeney was from Scotland and used to be a MacKeeney. A Scottish prisoner of war who was captured by Cromwell in the 1650's was sent with other Scots to New England under the name Alistair MacKhene.

I have no records of any Keeney ancestors in Nova Scotia. My own line goes firmly back to John Keeney (1712-1799) in Connecticut. As your line didn't leave Scotland until after 1800, we can safely say that our genetic connection did not occur on this side of the Atlantic. One of our matches goes firmly back to an Alexander Keeney born in 1748, again in Connecticut and the third match has a line which I am convinced goes back to Alexander Keeney, died in 1680, though the participant has some doubts.


The above information was provided by the participant or his representative and may contain errors.
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Georgia Kinney Bopp
Revised 14 October 2006

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