Show ContentsGowen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Gowen family

The surname Gowen 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 Gowen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gowen 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 Gowen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gowen Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Gowen 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 Gowen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gowen Ranking

In the United States, the name Gowen is the 6,814th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Gowen family to Ireland

Some of the Gowen 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 Gowen migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gowen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Gowen, aged 18, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Globe" [3]
  • William Gowen, who landed in Maine in 1651-1652 [3]
Gowen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Gowen, who settled in Annapolis Maryland in 1729
  • James Gowen, who settled in Annapolis in 1729
Gowen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Gowen, who arrived in America in 1811 [3]
  • Thomas Gowen, aged 34, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Bernard Gowen, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [3]
  • M Gowen, aged 25, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1822 [3]
  • M. Gowen, who settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1822
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gowen migration to Australia +

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

Gowen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Gowen, British convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]

New Zealand Gowen 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:

Gowen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Kate M. Gowen, (b. 1845), aged 19, English domestic servant from Wiltshire travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 22nd October 1864 [5]

West Indies Gowen migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Gowen Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Gowen, who settled in Jamaica in 1717

Contemporary Notables of the name Gowen (post 1700) +

  • Bradford Gowen (b. 1946), American pianist recipient of the 1978 Kennedy Center/Rockefeller Foundation International Competition for Excellence in the Performance of American Music
  • Zach Gowen (b. 1983), American professional wrestler
  • Francis I. Gowen (1855-1927), American industrialist
  • Clonie Gowen (b. 1971), American professional poker player
  • T. K. Gowen, American politician, Mayor of Fullerton, California, 1938-39; Resigned 1939 [7]
  • Franklin Crosbie Gowen (b. 1895), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Leghorn, 1921; Genoa, 1926; Rome, 1926-30; Naples, 1930-34; U.S. Consul in Palermo, 1931-32; London, 1932-39 [7]
  • Francis M. Gowen Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 2000 (alternate), 2004 [7]
  • Charles Gowen (1904-2003), American politician, Candidate for Governor of Georgia, 1954 [7]
  • Franklin B. Gowen (1836-1889), President of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad
  • Edward Gowen Budd (1870-1946), American inventor and businessman, founder of the Budd company in 1912

  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from on Facebook