Erwin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Among the the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Erwin were the Strathclyde- Britons. Erwin was a name for someone who lived in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or from Irvine in Strathclyde. There are a variety of possible origins of the name and we will explore some of them here. One source claims the name was a "descendant of Erewine (sea friend); or one who came from Irvine (green river), in Ayrshire. " [1]

Another source postulates the name was from "Mac Heremon, 'Here- mon's Son.' Heremon was the seventh in descent from Milesius, and became monarch of all Ireland. [2] And another believes that Irwin was "the Irish form of Irvine. The singular Christian name Crinus, which prevails in the family of I. of Tanragoe, co. Sligo, is traditionally derived from Krynin Abethnas, the second husband of the mother of Duncan, King of Scotland." [3]

Early Origins of the Erwin family

The surname Erwin was first found in Ayrshire, at Irvine, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, about 26 miles (W. S. W.) from Glasgow.

"[Irvine] derives its name from the river on which it is situated, and appears to have attained a high degree of importance at a very early period. The inhabitants obtained from Alexander II. a charter conferring upon the town all the privileges of a royal burgh; and a charter confirming all previous grants was subsequently given to them by Robert Bruce, in recompense of their services during his wars with England in the reign of Edward I." [4]

Alternatively, the name was "from Irving, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire, There are many Irvings (or Irvines as most of the Dumfriesshire families spell the name) here." [5]

According to voice of tradition, they descend from Duncan "the first of Eryvine," killed at the battle of Duncrub in 965. As far as records are concerned, the earliest listed was William de Irwin, an armor bearer to King Robert the Bruce. He received a grant of lands encompassing the Forest of Drum, on the banks of the River Irvine. And it was here that he had Drum Castle built which would become the family seat of the Clan for centuries. The river originally was named Lar Avon, or West River.

Robert de Hirvine, ancestor of that previous William was mentioned in a Charter dated 1226 and he was at that time tenant of the Douglas Clan. From 1331-33 the family received further grants of land and by 1400 had become a very predominant family. The Chief of the Irvines lead his Clansmen in the Battle of Harlaw in 1511. Sir Alexander Irvine was slain there, and it was said of him: 'Gude Sir Alexander Irvine, The much renowned Laird of Drum.' [5]

"Washington Irving (1783-1859), the American author, was son of William Irving, a native of Shapinsay, Orkney." [5]

Early History of the Erwin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Erwin research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1324, 1331, 1332, 1411, 1602, 1587, 1323, 1976, 1411, 1752, 1759, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1455, 1658, 1411, 1638, 1685, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Erwin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Erwin Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Erwin has been spelled Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.

Early Notables of the Erwin family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Adam Irvine, Burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from Aberdeenshire. Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum (d. 1658), the Royalist, "was descended from William de Irvine, who was armour-bearer to Robert Bruce, and was rewarded for his devoted services by a grant of the forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, at that time part of a royal forest. A grandson of William de Irvine (Sir Alexander) distinguished himself at the battle of Harlaw (1411), in a hand-to-hand encounter with MacLean of Dowart, general of Donald of the Isles, in which both were slain...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Erwin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Erwin family to Ireland

Some of the Erwin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 144 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Erwin migration to the United States +

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Erwin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Georg Erwin, who landed in Virginia in 1640 [6]
  • Mary Erwin, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [6]
Erwin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Erwin, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1720 [6]
  • Nathaniel Erwin, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [6]
  • Joseph Erwin, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798 [6]
  • William Erwin, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798 [6]
  • William Erwin, who landed in Mississippi in 1798 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Erwin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jared Erwin, aged 31, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Charles Erwin, who arrived in South Carolina in 1814 [6]
  • James Erwin, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [6]
  • Mr. Erwin, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1821 [6]
  • Thomas Erwin, who arrived in New York in 1824 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Erwin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Erwin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Eli Erwin, who arrived in Canada in 1829
  • John Erwin, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • Francis Erwin, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Mr. Andrew Erwin, aged 24 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Elizabeth" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [7]
  • Eliza Erwin, aged 33 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Jessie" departing from the port of Limerick, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Erwin 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:

Erwin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Erwin, aged 25, a dairymaid, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Erwin (post 1700) +

  • William Lindsey "Bill" Erwin (1914-2010), American Primetime Emmy Award nominated film, stage and television actor with over 250 television and film credits
  • Lee Erwin (d. 1972), American television writer
  • Ross Emil "Tex" Erwin (1885-1963), American Major League Baseball catcher
  • Steve Erwin (b. 1932), American comic book artist
  • Richard Cannon Erwin (1923-2006), American jurist and politician
  • John Lee Erwin (b. 1936), American voice actor known for voicing Morris the Cat
  • Mike Erwin (b. 1978), American actor, best known for his role as Colin Hart in the television series Everwood
  • Stuart Erwin (1903-1967), American Academy Award nominated actor for his supporting role in Pigskin Parade (1936)
  • Terry L. Erwin (b. 1940), American entomologist with the Smithsonian Institution
  • Staff Sergeant Henry E Erwin, American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Walton Aluard Erwin, American Seaman First Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [8]
  • Mr. Stanley Joe Erwin, American Machinist's Mate First Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [8]


The Erwin 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: Candide et constanter
Motto Translation: Fairly and firmly.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Moore, A.W., Manx Names. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1906. Print
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 27)
  8. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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