Show ContentsGovan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Govan family

The surname Govan was first found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they held a family seat on the territories and lands known as Govan. The first on record was Christian, widow of Simon Govan in 1293.

The name of this parish is generally supposed to have been derived from the two Saxon words god and win, 'good wine,' applied on account of the superior ale for which the place was celebrated, and which, after being kept for several years, approached in flavour to wine. Some, however, derive it from the Gaelic word gamham, pronounced gavan, and signifying 'a ditch,' used in reference to the river Clyde, which runs through the parish, and which, in ancient times, was a very narrow stream. [1]

Early History of the Govan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Govan research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1326, 1359, 1425, 1672, 1623, 1661, 1587, 1668 and 1587 are included under the topic Early Govan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Govan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Govan, Govane, Govean, Govans, MacGovan, MacGovans, Gowen and many more.

Early Notables of the Govan family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir John of Govan; and Captain William Govan (1623-1661), a Scottish officer who fought for the Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Govan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Govan Ranking

In the United States, the name Govan is the 6,647th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Govan family to Ireland

Some of the Govan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Govan migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Govan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Govan, who landed in Maryland in 1670 [3]
  • Katharine Govan, who landed in New Jersey in 1685 [3]
  • Katherine Govan, who arrived in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1685 [3]
  • Katherine Govan who settled in New Jersey in 1685
Govan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Govan, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1850

New Zealand Govan 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:

Govan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Govan, aged 24, a miner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Helenslee" in 1864 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Govan (post 1700) +

  • R. B. Govan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nevada, 1912 [5]
  • Jerry Govan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from South Carolina, 2004 [5]
  • Cleavon Govan, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 1st District, 1948 [5]
  • Andrew Robison Govan (1794-1841), American politician, Member of South Carolina State House of Representatives, 1820-21; U.S. Representative from South Carolina 4th District, 1822-27 [5]
  • Andrew Govan, American politician, Representative from New York 13th District, 1910 [5]
  • Alexander "Alex" Govan (1929-2016), Scottish professional footballer

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from on Facebook