Share This:

My Great Great Grand mother was Nancy Horan and she married John McCoy. I believe that John died and in the 1820's Nancy and her two sons (John and James) and her father( Alexander) immigrated to New Brunswick, Canada and then down to Maine, USA. Nancy's 2 brothers and sister also resided in the same Maine area (Lubec). Does any one know of the McCoy (McCay) and Horan families prior to Nancy't leaving Ireland? There were times when my Grandmother said she was a Scot and others that she was Irish.


Friday 11th October 2013, 04:38PM

Message Board Replies

  • You don?t say what denomination your family were. However for Rathlin there are no RC records earlier than 1856 and no Church of Ireland before 1845, so that will make it difficult to trace the family through those records.

    There were no McCoy/McKay or Horan households on Rathlin in Griffiths Valuation in 1861.

    Ahoghill Antrim

    Friday 11th October 2013, 06:56PM
  • They were RC, I was told McCay (McCoy) was RC and McKay was Church of Ireland.


    Friday 11th October 2013, 07:51PM
  • No, the information regarding the spelling of the names is a bit of an urban myth. It is not really a reliable way of determining a person?s denomination. Spelling varied all the time according to the whim of the person gathering the information, and will also vary within each family from generation to generation. Taking the 1901 census of Ireland, there are 68 people named McCoy, 126 McCay & 84 Mackay. All of them, without exception, were Presbyterian (ie strongly indicative of Scottish ancestry). There were 2015 named McKay. Of those 803 were RC, 435 Church of Ireland and 570 Presbyterian. So the RC element is completely mixed in with other denominations. The spelling tells you nothing.

    If your ancestors came from Rathlin, the majority of the population there were RC, so that information fits fine.

    Rathlin was part of the kingdom of Dalriada from 495AD onwards. That was established by the Scoti tribe from Co Antrim who moved over to Scotland and set up their capital in Dunadd, near modern Oban. They ruled part of the Western Isles of Scotland, the Kintyre peninsula, Rathlin and a bit of Co Antrim for about 400 years. Over the years the kingdom was broken up and by the 1800s, Rathlin was pretty much under the control of the McDonnells of Antrim (originally Scots) but the population of Rathlin by then would probably have regarded themselves as Irish more than Scots. Hard to say really.  Perhaps your McCoys only lived in Rathlin for a short while, and had come much more recently from some part of Scotland. McCoy/McKay etc doesn?t appear to have been a common name on Rathlin. That could be explained by them being Scots incomers. (If they were of Scottish origin, we also have to account for them being RC and not Presbyterian, but not all Scots were Presbyterian, or they might possibly have converted, given that Rathlin was pretty much exclusively RC).

    Ahoghill Antrim

    Friday 11th October 2013, 11:02PM
  • McCoys were on Rathlin Island in late 1700s and 1800s. Neil McCoy, farmer on Rathlin Island married Isabella Black from the Glens. Their daughter Alicia, married Michael McQuaig in St Thomas' Church (various spellings abound  McCuaig, McCouaig, McQuigg and immigrants to America McQuaig, McQuaigge and McCuaig none of which seem to relate to religious denomination) 

    Michael (1806 - 19/8/1896) was the island inn keeper and a farmer. His father and mother were Henry McCouaig and Annie Horan - Henry being church of Scotland and Annie being Catholic. It is believed the McCouaigs were  ousted crofters from the Scottish Highlands who made their way to the western islands settling on Islay before some leaving for Rathlin. The Islanders saw themselves as Scottish and spoke Gaelic as well as English. Between 1840 and 1850 some 500 Rathlin Islanders left for America. They first settled in Lubec, Maine. A  number of McCouaigs, Horans and McCoys also left Rathlin at this time.  I have not noticed any McCoys on Islay records so I suspect they have come to Rathlin via one of the other islands or perhaps from Northern Ireland. 

    Griffiths Valuation1861-1862  shows Neal <b1820 (Carravinally), Isabella (Demesne).  Other random Rathlin McCoy names I have come across are  Catherine McCoy   c1836 - c1909  (Ballycarry)   Donald McCoy c1825, Michael, Neal, Angus, Margaret, Jane (possibly siblings to Alicia)

    Co-incidentally one of my more recent family links is to one Leon Wheeler McCoy who  married an Elizabeth McCuaig ( Elizabeth's father born in London but family from Rathlin). Haven't followed this line back but suspect an Irish origin. 

    Chris McCouaig

    chris mccouaig

    Saturday 15th February 2014, 11:30AM
  • Chris

    My McCay's / Horan had left Rathlin by 1830. It could be possible that Neil was a brother to John McCay and he stayed in Rathlin after John and his family left. John Horan, son of Alexander Horan, first ventured to Maine around the mid 1820's and then sent word for his, and his sister's Nancy McCay nee Horan, family to cone to the US. He went down to NYC to greet them, but they came to New Brunswich, Canada.

    In the Chain of Occupancy 1803 - 1860

    Neil McCay only appears in the Townland of Roonivoolin in 1834 together with McCormick, McKinlay, Morrison and Weir.

    In 1803 there was William McCay in Townland of Ballynoe, together with Blacks, McCarter and Morrison

    Also in 1803 there was John McCay in Township of Churchquarter with Anderson, Bradley, Gage, Grimes, Hunter, McCarter, McCurdy, McDonell, McFall, McQuik, McQuikan and Moore.

    In the Townland of Roonivoolin in 1803 there were Anderson, McCurdy and Wier.

    In 1860 the only McCoy was Isabella in the township of Demesne

    There was a John M'Quaig in Roonivoolin in 1860

    I assume we are distant cousins!


    Tuesday 18th February 2014, 06:16PM
  • duplicate entry


    Tuesday 18th February 2014, 06:20PM
  • see attached


    Tuesday 18th February 2014, 06:45PM
  • Griffith's Valuation does have McCoys.

    Neal McCoy - Carravinally

    Isabella McCoy - Demense


    William McCoy, son of Donald McCoy was also on the Island in the 1860's. He married Catherine McArthur 3/01/1860 and had seven children on the Island from 1861 to 1876.

    John (Iain) McKay, son of Donald, married Margaret (Peggy) McCoy 20/05/1857, they had 12 children between 1857 and 1878, all in Ballyconagan

    Tithe Applotment 1834

    1. McCay, Danl. Townland : Coolnagrock
    2. McCay, Neal Townland : Runavoolin
    3. McKey, Danl. Townland : Ballycarry
    4. McKey, Danl. Townland : South Shanerd
    5. McKey, Hugh Townland : Corvanally
    6. McKey, John Townland : Kinrammer North





    Andy Keogh

    Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 01:10PM