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Surname Cains - Meaning and Origin

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Cains: What does the surname Cains mean?

The last name Cains is of English origin. It is an habitational surname derived from any of the numerous places in England called Caines or Cains. These place names derive from the Old English words cegn or caegn meaning 'priest', denoting a former priest's dwelling.

The Cains surname can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic-Irish surname Ó Catháin, meaning 'descendant of Catháin'. The male given name Catháin is derived from cath, meaning battle.

The earliest known recording of the surname Cains is in 1379, in the Close Roll of the Court of Chancery during the reign of King Richard II of England. It is believed to have been the English Joan Cans who was noted in the Records of the Parliament of Scotland in the year 1390.

The Cains family dispersed throughout England, some of the earliest in Norfolk and Suffolk, while others relocated to other parts of the country including London.

Today, the surname Cains is found mainly in England, Scotland, Ireland and the US, with a smaller occurrence in Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Members of the Cains family have made significant contributions to society in science, music, politics, government and trade.

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Cains: Where does the name Cains come from?

The last name Cains is a common one in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. In the UK, it is the 67th most common surname and is most commonly found in Northern Ireland, where it ranks as the 48th most popular last name. According to the Ireland Census, Cains is the 57th most common last name. In Australia, it is the 377th most popular name, likely due to the links between the countries.

The origin of the name Cains is believed to originate in Brittany, a region in France. It is believed a group of people left France in the 17th and 18th centuries and immigrated to the UK and Ireland. The name has also been linked to a Norse given name, which means ‘errant’ or ‘renegade’.

The surname Cains is still found in abundance within the UK and Ireland, and has spread to many parts of North America, particularly the southern states. It is also found in South Africa and New Zealand, likely due to the connections of the British Empire. Across the world, the surname Cains is estimated to be held by around 8,000 people.

Variations of the surname Cains

The surname Cains is of English and Irish origin. It has multiple variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. The name Cains is an occupational name used for those who worked as clerks or were associated with perhaps a court of law.

Variants of the surname include Cain, Cane, Kain, Kaine, Kayne, Kayne, and Kaynes, with variants such as Kaing, Keyne, Kaines, and Cayne also existing.

Cains is a patronymic surname, derived from either the given name Caine or Caen, meaning "battle." Other Irish forms of the surname include Mac Cáimbe and Mac Áin.

In English Last Names, the Cains surname is among the 'top hundred surnames of Great Britain' with the earliest recordings being found in Norfolk, England towards the end of the 12th century, including Peter (Cayn in 1221) and William (Cain in 1230).

The earliest records of the Irish form of the name are found in County Cork where the Cains were an important Norman family. Later, the family then spread to Kilkenny where a branch was established around the 16th century.

In the United States of America the Cains surname is among the top thousand surnames, with the earliest recording being in Virginia in 1772, with John Cains listed as arriving from England.

Notable people with the Cains surname include David Cains, the Australian politician, Clarence Cains, the World War II fighter pilot, William Cains, the English cricket player, and Osborn Cains an American politician.

Famous people with the name Cains

  • Dean Cain: an actor, producer, and television host best known for playing the role of Clark Kent/Superman in the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
  • David Cains: an American author, chairman, and communications strategist.
  • Kevin Cains: an American professional golfer who has won 23 PGA Tour events and three major championships.
  • Tom Cains: an influential American musician, singer, and songwriter in Country Music and Western Swing.
  • Bianca Cains: an Australian professional surfer and one of the first women to compete on the professional tour.
  • Scott Cains: an American sculptor, painter and designer, best known for his public art sculptures.
  • Sean Cains: an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
  • Brother Cains: an American producer, songwriter and composer, most known for producing hit songs for Rihanna, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.
  • Gary Cains: an American actor and film producer, best known for his appearances in films such as That Thing You Do!
  • Jennifer Cains: an American actress, singer, and voice actress best known for voicing the character Daphne Blake in the Scooby-Doo franchise.

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