McCawley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

Many variations of the name McCawley have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Amhalghaidh or Mac Amhlaoibh. The former name denotes a son of Auley, while the later denotes a son of Auliffe or a son of Humphrey. They claim descent through the Heremon line of Irish kings. [1]

Early Origins of the McCawley family

The surname McCawley was first found in county Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster, where at one time the area which is now Ballyloughnoe was once called "McGawley's Country." There is another sept named Mac Amhlaoibh in Gaelic which were a branch of the MacGuires and mainly found in County Fermanagh. This branch gave their name to Clanawley. [2]

Important Dates for the McCawley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCawley research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1787 and 1841 are included under the topic Early McCawley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCawley Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of the surname McCawley can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include MacAulay, MacAwley, MacAuley, MacAullay, MacAulley, MacAwlay, MacCaulay, MacCawley, MacGawley, Magawley, Cauley, Caulay, McCamley and many more.

Early Notables of the McCawley family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCawley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCawley migration to the United States

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the McCawley family came to North America quite early:

McCawley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John McCawley, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [3]
  • Neal McCawley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [3]
McCawley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel McCawley, aged 31, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [3]
  • Thomas McCawley, who arrived in Arkansas in 1885 [3]

McCawley migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCawley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick McCawley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1838

McCawley migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McCawley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Sarah McCawley, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "John Banks" [4]

McCawley migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McCawley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Mccawley, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [5]
  • Mr. James McCawley, (b. 1949), aged 27, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [6]
  • Mrs. Bridget McCawley, (b. 1953), aged 23, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [6]
  • Miss Mary Maria McCawley, (b. 1875), aged 9 months, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name McCawley (post 1700)

  • Charles Laurie McCawley (1865-1935), American officer who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I, one of 23 Marine Corps officers awarded the Marine Corps Brevet Medal for bravery
  • Jim McCawley (1942-1997), American Emmy Award winning screenwriter and former television producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
  • James David McCawley (1938-1999), Scottish-born, American linguist
  • Charles Grymes McCawley (1827-1891), American officer, the eighth Commandant of the Marine Corps, eponym of two ships: USS McCawley (DD-276), a Clemson-class destroyer, and the USS McCawley (APA-4), a transport
  • Deborah J. McCawley Q.C., Canadian justice, judge of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba
  • Leon McCawley (b. 1973), British classical pianist
  • Thomas William McCawley (1881-1925), Australian Chief Justice of Queensland

Historic Events for the McCawley family

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas W. McCawley (d. 1912), aged 36, English Gymnasium Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [7]

You May Also Like


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 30th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Banks 1855. Retrieved
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  7. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from
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