Cowen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Cowen was first used by the ancient Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The first Cowen family lived in the Scottish-English border region. The Cowen family lived in Ayrshire.

Early Origins of the Cowen family

The surname Cowen was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Cowen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowen research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cowen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowen Spelling Variations

Surnames that evolved in Scotland in the Middle Ages often appear under many spelling variations. These are due to the practice of spelling according to sound in the era before dictionaries had standardized the English language. Cowen has appeared as Cowan, Cowans, Cowen, Cowens, MacCowan, MacCowden and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowen family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Cowen family to Ireland

Some of the Cowen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cowen migration to the United States +

The North American colonies beckoned, with their ample land and opportunity as their freedom from the persecution suffered by so many Clan families back home. Many Scots even fought against England in the American War of Independence to gain this freedom. Recently, clan societies have allowed the ancestors of these brave Scottish settlers to rediscover their familial roots. Among them:

Cowen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Cowen, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [1]
  • Thomas Cowen, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [1]
  • John Cowen, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1656 [1]
Cowen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Cowen, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763 [1]
Cowen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Cowen, aged 30, who arrived in Delaware in 1812 [1]
  • P H Cowen, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • Oliver C Cowen, who landed in Mississippi in 1851 [1]
  • W El Cowen, aged 19, who landed in New York in 1862 [1]
  • Archibald Cowen, who arrived in America in 1869 [1]

Australia Cowen migration to Australia +

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

Cowen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary Cowen, aged 32, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Violet"

New Zealand Cowen 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:

Cowen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Cowen, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1859
  • Mr. James Cowen, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "William Watson" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th February 1859 [2]
  • Miss Anne Cowen, (b. 1837), aged 23, Irish domestic servant from Roscommon travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [2]
  • Miss Margaret Cowen, (b. 1842), aged 18, Irish domestic servant from Roscommon travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [2]
  • Joseph Cowen, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Owen Glendowner" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowen (post 1700) +

  • Joshua Lionel Cowen (1877-1965), American inventor of the flash-lamp used as an early photographer's flash light source in 1899 and co-founder of Lionel Corporation, the manufacturer of model railroads and toy trains
  • John Kissig Cowen (1844-1904), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland (1895-1897)
  • Benjamin Rush Cowen (1831-1908), American Union Army general during the American Civil War and politician, 13th Ohio Secretary of State in 1862
  • Benjamin Sprague Cowen (1793-1869), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1841-1843)
  • Jeff Cowen (b. 1966), American art photographer
  • Elise Nada Cowen (1933-1962), American poet
  • Ronald Cowen (b. 1980), American-born, Bermuda backstroke swimmer at the 2003 Pan American Games
  • Arnold Wilson Cowen (1905-2007), American trial commissioner, a trial judge, and the chief judge of the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims
  • Robert E. Cowen (b. 1930), American jurist, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1987-1998)
  • Scott S. Cowen (b. 1946), American educator, 14th President of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • ... (Another 25 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Herbert Fisher Cowen (d. 1945), British Canteen Assistant aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [3]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Robert W O Cowen, British Lead Telegraphist, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [4]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William Cowen, British Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [5]


The Cowen Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sic itur in altum
Motto Translation: This is the way to heaven.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  4. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  5. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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