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Help with Cain Irish Ancestors

Hi, I wonder if someone could help me with my Cain family ancestors.

I have hit a brick wall with James Cain, Ellen Cain (Maiden: Robinson), Patrick Cain.

According to the 1911 census they originated from the following places in Ireland;

Name: James Cain
Age 56
Estimated DOB: 1855
Place of Birth: Ahascragh Galway

Name: Ellen Cain
Relationship: Wife
Years Married: 31
Age: 56
Estimatd DOB: 1855
Place of Birth: Ferns Co Wexford

Name: Henry Cain
Relationship: Son
Age: 24
Estimated DOB: 1887
Place of Birth: Widnes, Lancashire

Patrick Cain
Relationship: Boarder
Age 70
Estimated DOB: 1841
Place of Birth: Ahascragh Galway

I know Ellen's Maiden name is "Robinson" from Henry Cains birth certificate.

They appear in Widnes in 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 Census.

I am unable to find when they came across to England and whether it was together or seperate, any of their births or James/Ellen's marriage. These are the first ancestors I have traced back to Ireland successfully so it may just be my knowledge of searching Irisih ancestors thats weak so any pointers/assistance would be greatly appreciated.


Does that happen often were the spelling of a surname changes? e.g. cain going to Kain, Keane, Kean, Cian, Kane. Why does that happen?

If the marriage records mentioned are true would that likely mean the rest of my irish ancesters surnames would be spelled "Kane"?

Would 15 be a possible age of marriage in Ireland around this time?

On the 1911 census under Ellen Cain it states years married and she put 31, which would be approx 1880. Now that i think about it on one of their census in 1881 the spelled their surname as "cain" but in 1891 it was "caine" then in 1901 it was "cain" again. I just put this down to whoever completed the census misinterpreting it?
Hello Gareth,

In the 1800s (and before) the majority of people were unable to read and write, so they wouldn't know how their name was spelled.

What you see written down is the scribe's interpretation of what he heard. The best thing to do when searching is to keep an open mind and accept the variations in spellings.

Re the statement 31 years in the 1911 census, perhaps they just didn't do their adding up correctly!

:) Josie
Never seen county of birth on a census before, wish I could for my Irish Kane's too, have reached a deadend :(


Hi Alison,

The best place to find Irish birth counties is on the 1911 census. For the first time, householders were given the opportunity to submit their own census returns and they gave much more information than the enumerators did in early censuses.