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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish McGovern family come from? What is the Irish McGovern family crest and coat of arms? When did the McGovern family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McGovern family history?

The McGovern surname was originally the Irish Gaelic Mag Shamhrain, which is derived from the word "samhra," meaning "summer."

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Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name McGovern revealed many variations, including MacGovern, Magauran, MacGoveran, MacGoverin and others.

First found in County Cavan .


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGovern research. Another 145 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1481, 1410, 1476, 1444, 1476, 1547, 1593, 1587, 1593, 1581 and 1587 are included under the topic Early McGovern History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 75 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGovern Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the McGovern family relocated to North American shores quite early:

McGovern Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Christopher McGovern, aged 37, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Mathew McGovern, aged 36, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Charles McGovern, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Patrick McGovern, who landed in New York in 1850
  • James McGovern, aged 18, arrived in New York, NY in 1850


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  • George Stanley McGovern (1922-2012), American Democrat politician and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1972 Democratic Party presidential nominee
  • Elizabeth McGovern (b. 1961), Academy Award-nominated American film and theater actress
  • Francis E. McGovern (1866-1946), American politician, 22nd Governor of Wisconsin
  • Jim McGovern (b. 1965), professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1990's
  • Maureen Therese McGovern (b. 1949), American singer and Broadway actress
  • Patrick Joseph McGovern Jr. (1937-2014), American chairman and founder of International Data Group (IDG)
  • Barry McGovern (b. 1948), Irish stage, film and television actor
  • John McGovern VC (1825-1888), Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross from Tullyhaw, County Cavan
  • Miss Mary McGovern, aged 22, Irish Third Class passenger from Corlough, Cavan who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13
  • James McGovern (b. 1956), Scottish politician

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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  11. ...

The McGovern Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGovern Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 September 2014 at 15:21.

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