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The Kissane Surname Y-DNA Project is open  to all persons with the surname Kissane, Cashman, Cussane, Gussane, Patterson.

The original Irish form is O Ciosain.

Kissane is the form found in Co. Kerry. Cashman is the form found in Co. Cork. Cussane and Gussane are rare and found in Co. Clare.

At last count, FamilyTree DNA showed five persons of name Kissane have had their DNA tested at FamilyTree DNA.

Further information re the origins of the Kissane surname can be found under the Kissane Surname Project at FamilyTree DNA.


Welcome to the Kissane name project.

Following is a short history of the Kissane name.

The name Kissane is a phonetic anglicisation of the Gaelic name "O Ciosain" where the "O", the first "i" and the "a" all have acute accents to broaden the vowels.

The name is a composite of three Gaelic words.

"O" means "son of".  (Note: I always understood that Mac means "son of" and "O" means "grandson of". Patrick Kissane).

"Cios" means "rent".

"Ain" means "the act of driving" e.g. cattle.

Combined into O Ciosain, the name means "son of the rent driver".


In olden days, subjects of the local chieftain were required to pay rent, normally in the form of livestock, to their chieftain who leased them land to farm. The original Kissanes were employed by the Black Valley chieftain at one time to collect this rent. The Black Valley is a valley about six miles from Killarney town, nestling at the foot of the mountain range which is a major feature of the Killarney landscape. Seemingly, the Kissanes at that time were taller and bigger than other families and therefore better suited to extracting the rent from the chieftain's subjects. Rent was normally paid in sheep or cattle and the Kissanes had to collect the  cattle and sheep and drive them back to the chieftain - hence "driving the rent".

The above information re the Kissane name is taken from the web-page of Al Kissane of Chicago. I understand that is was initially written by an academic at the Irish National Library in Dublin, a Dr. Noel Kissane. Al Kissane has a page devoted to the Kissane name. The URL is

People in Ireland did not begin to adopt surnames until the 11th century when it apparently became mandatory. The chieftain of the Loch Lein area in the early 11th century was the O' Carroll. During the 11th century, the area passed from the O' Carroll to the Moriarty and from him to the O'Donoghue. We might, therefore, draw a tentative conclusion that the first persons bearing the surname Kissane were rent or tribute collectors to the O' Carroll chieftain in the 11th century. But this conclusion can only be verified by doing research on original documents.

There is an area in Co. Kerry near Killorglin called Ballykissane. Ballykissane means "the dwelling of the Kissanes".

Edward MacLysaght in his standard work on Irish surnames has this to say on the surname KISSANE.


It is sad that the euphonious Irish name Kissane, the form still use in Kerry, should have been transmogrified into the English word Cashman as has happened in Co. Cork. No doubt Kerry being more inaccessible was less subject to English influence during the period of Gaelic submergence. O'Kissane was still the form used in Co. Cork at the time of the Cromwellian Settlement, as the various seventeenth century records show. In Irish the surname is O Ciosain, Gussane is found in west Clare."

It can safely be assumed that all persons of the name Kissane originate from Co. Kerry. Even today, most Kissanes in Ireland are found in Co. Kerry, especially north Kerry


I also received information from an Ann Kissane (annkissane AT re the Kissane surname. She said "I am attaching some recent work by Declan Downey RAH from UCD he presented this at a Kissane gathering a couple of years back.

It formed part of a book of three branches of our Family tree (Al Kissane is included)." Preview attachment kissane arms.pdf

kissane arms.pdf

659 KB


Bill Cashman (  has posted his family history, namely, the Cashmans of Glanmire. Co. Cork.






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