Senator John McCain dies after discontinuing medical treatment for cancer

On July 20, Arizona Senator John McCain, 80, announced that he was suffering from a brain-tumor known as glioblastoma. The prognosis for such an aggressive form of is rarely good. In 2009 and 2015, the same type of tumor claimed the lives of prominent Irish-Americans Senator Edward Kennedy and Joe Biden's son, Beau.

His family announced on Friday that he was discontinuing treatment. On Saturday he passed way.

McCain's ancestors came to the U.S. from County Antrim in the 18th Century

In his autobiography, Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir, Sen. McCain said that he is a descendant of Hugh Young. Young had come to the U.S. from County Antrim in the 18th century and settled in Virginia. Two generations earlier, Young's family had arrived in Ireland from Scotland. The family was Presbyterians, these days McCain identifies as a Baptist. 

The Ulster Family Heritage magazine wrote in October 2008 that, "The McCains are native to Counties Donegal and Antrim originally, but are now dispersed and are also found in Counties Derry, Tyrone, and Dublin."  

In 1877, Sen. McCain's grandfather, also named John, married Elizabeth Young in Carroll County, Mississippi. Sen. McCain still has family in Mississippi to this day. 

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Sen. McCain's ancestry is said to be reflected in his political style

An article on McCain in Prospect Magazine from August 2008 saw writer Anatol Lieven attribute many of Sen. McCain's traits to his heritage. Lieven wrote, "his obstinacy; his tendency towards unshakeable friendship and implacable hatred; his hair-trigger temper; his deep patriotism; his obsession with American honor; and his furious response to any criticism of the US."

While on the campaign trail in October 2008, Sen. McCain came under fire for telling a joke about drunk Irish twins during an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The senator set up the joke by saying, "There’s only one ethnic joke that can be told in American politics and that’s Irish jokes."

The president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Seamus Boyle, told Politico in response to the joke, "It was really an insult to a whole nationality to be stereotyped as drunks."  

Around the same time, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal wrote in Irish Abroad that Sen. McCain had been "wrong on Ireland." Rep. Neal wrote that Sen. McCain's assertions that President Clinton shouldn't get involved in the Northern Ireland peace process were "on the wrong side of history every step of the way." Sen. McCain had argued that getting involved with the Troubles could damage America's relationship with the United Kingdom. 

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Sen. McCain's other ancestry can be traced to the Scottish royal family of the 12th and 13th centuries, according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The society adds that Sen. McCain and former First Lady Laura Bush have ancestors in common. 

H/T: Immigrants in American History

H/T: Ulster Family Heritage magazine

H/T: Politico

H/T: New England Historic Genealogical Society

H/T: Irish Abroad

H/T: Prospect Magazine

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