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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the McKeown family in Ireland was Mac Eogain in Connacht, and Mac Eoin in east Ulster. Both of these names connote a son of John, or a son of Owen.


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 McKeown revealed many variations, including Keon, MacKeon, MacKeown, MacKewan, MacKoun, MacWing, Hone, MacOwen, Mageown and many more.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where the first people to use this surname are thought to have originated. Soon thereafter, the name was also found in neighboring Leitrim.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKeown research. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKeown History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McKeown Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McKeown or a variant listed above, including:

McKeown Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexr McKeown, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Dan McKeown, who arrived in America in 1806
  • Hugh McKeown, who landed in South Carolina in 1810
  • Moses McKeown, who landed in South Carolina in 1810
  • Margaret McKeown, who landed in New York, NY in 1816


  • Erin McKeown (b. 1977), American folk-rock singer
  • Bishop Donal McKeown (b. 1950), Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor
  • Gerard McKeown (b. 1980), Northern Irish poet, recipient of the 2007 Belfast Performance Poetry
  • Laurence McKeown (b. 1956), Provisional Irish Republican Army member who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike
  • Robert "Bob" McKeown, Canadian investigative reporter with the CBC
  • Charles McKeown (b. 1946), British actor and writer, best known for his work with Monty Phython's Terry Gilliam
  • Leslie Richard McKeown (b. 1955), Scottish pop singer
  • Mary Margaret McKeown (b. 1951), federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Gary McKeown (b. 1970), retired British footballer


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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. 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).
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  10. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The McKeown Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKeown 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 14 October 2014 at 20:50.

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