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Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish


The clans of the Pictish people in ancient Scotland were the ancestors of the first people to use the name Shaw. It was a name for a person who shared some of the qualities attributed to a wolf. Shaw is a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. The surname Shaw is derived from the Gaelic first name Sithech, which means wolf.

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The surname Shaw was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where the family appears to have been firmly entrenched in the Eastern coastal regions well before 1000 AD. While some claim that the Clan originally descended from a MacDuff, one of the ancient Earls of Fife, the first official mention in documents shows them to be present at the General Council held by King Malcolm at Forfar in 1061. However, this ancient leadership was challenged by many other Clans Commyns (Cummings) who had leased the Shaw lands of Rothiemurchus.

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Shaw has appeared Shaw, Shawe, Mac Ghille-Sheathanaich (Gaelic) and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shaw research. Another 424 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1178, 1226, 1405, 1411, 1527, 1608, 1672, 1692, 1751, 1774, 1776, 1799, 1804, 1826, 1832, 1849, and 1876 are included under the topic Early Shaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Shaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Shaw family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North Ameri ca. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Shaw:

Shaw Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Nich Shaw, who arrived in Virginia in 1618
  • Annis Shaw, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Anne Shaw settled in Virginia in 1635 along with Richard and William
  • Roger Shaw, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636
  • Abraham Shaw, who landed in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1637
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Shaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Shaw, who arrived in Virginia in 1701-1702
  • Ewen Shaw, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Angus Shaw, who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • Donald Shaw settled in Virginia in 1716
  • Ewen Shaw settled in South Carolina in 1716 along with John
  • ...

Shaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Shaw, who arrived in America in 1801
  • Joseph Shaw, who arrived in America in 1805
  • James Shaw, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Nathaniel Shaw, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • Elijah Shaw, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
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Shaw Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Shaw, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Shaw, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Sarah Shaw, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Peter Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • John Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
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Shaw Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Shaw, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • James Shaw, who landed in Canada in 1828
  • Samuel Shaw arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • Thomas Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mary Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1844

Shaw Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Shaw, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Shaw, a cooper, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Ann Shaw, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Margaret Shaw, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • George Shaw, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia
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Shaw Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Elihu Shaw landed in Kaipara, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship Coromandel
  • John Shaw landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Shaw landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • Ebenezer Shaw landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • James Shaw landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
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  • Leander J. Shaw Jr. (1930-2015), American jurist, Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 1990 to 1992
  • Gaylord Dewayne Shaw (1942-2015), American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in 1978
  • Lee Shaw (1926-2015), nicknamed the "First Lady of Jazz", an American jazz pianist and composer
  • Michael Shaw (1943-2005), American journalist awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1991
  • Wilbur Shaw (1902-1954), American 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500 winner
  • Brewster Hopkinson Shaw (b. 1945), former NASA astronaut with 3 shuttle missions and over 533 hours in space
  • Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), English born American suffragist
  • Russell Lee Shaw (b. 1976), American football wide receiver/defensive back
  • Irwin Shaw (1913-1984), American playwright, screenwriter and novelist
  • Arthur Shaw (1924-2015), English professional footballer who played from 1945 to 1956
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Shaw Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Henry Edward Shaw, British Baker from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Ms. Sarah Jane Shaw, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Mary  Shaw (1847-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Margaret  Shaw (1847-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Charles William  Shaw (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Nellie May  Shaw (1917-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. William Shaw, British Petty Office Stoker, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Shaw, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Shaw, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing in action 1942

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Douglas Shaw, British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Robert Stitt Shaw (b. 1914), English Able Bodied Seaman from Allerton, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Miss Emily Shaw, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
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  • Beacon Hill's Colonel Robert Gould Shaw by Marion Whitney Smith.
  • Eight Generations of the Family of John Shaw, 1788-1858 and his Wife, Nancy Worthy Shaw, 1788-1846 of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi by William David McCain.
  • Isaac Towell & his Family by Roy H. Towell.
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Shaw Clan Badge
Shaw Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Shaw
Macay, MacGaraidh, MacGhille-Sheathan, MacHay, McGaraidh, McGhille-Sheathan, McHay, Seath, Seth, Sharr, Shaw, Shawe, Sheach, Shew, Shiach and more.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
    2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    3. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
    4. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
    5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    6. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
    7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
    10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    11. ...

    The Shaw Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shaw 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 4 August 2016 at 17:20.

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