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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

Irwin was first used as a surname in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton. The first Irwin family lived in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or from Irvine in Strathclyde. The names have become indistinguishable over time.


The surname Irwin was first found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area. According to family lore, 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.'

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. Irwin has been spelled Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Irwin research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1323, 1976, 1411 and are included under the topic Early Irwin History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Irwin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Irwin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 275 words (20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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:

Irwin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Irwin settled in Virginia in 1642

Irwin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Irwin settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1712
  • Nathaniel Irwin, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740
  • James Irwin settled in Antigua in 1774
  • John Irwin settled in Maryland in 1774
  • Boyle Irwin, who landed in America in 1798-1802

Irwin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • David Irwin, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Ann Irwin, aged 9, arrived in Wiskasset (Wiscasset) in 1803
  • Mary Irwin settled in Wiscasset in 1803
  • Edwd Irwin, aged 50, arrived in Wiskasset (Wiscasset) in 1803
  • Patrick Irwin, aged 31, arrived in Wiskasset (Wiscasset) in 1803

Irwin Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Jas Irwin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Irwin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Abraham Irwin arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Africaine" in 1836
  • Nicholas Irwin, aged 20, English Convict from Yorkshire, who was transported aboard the "Aboukir" on December 24, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Irwin, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Olivia"
  • Nancy Irwin, aged 24, a house servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"

Irwin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Arthur Irwin landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Margaret Irwin arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caroline Coventry" in 1869
  • Mary J. Irwin, aged 19, a servant, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Elizabeth Irwin, aged 19, a housemaid, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lauderdale" in 1874
  • John Irwin, aged 22, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875


  • Hale Irwin (b. 1945), American professional PGA golfer who won three U.S. Opens, the oldest ever U.S. Open champion in 1990, at the age of 45
  • Donald Jay Irwin (1926-2013), American politician, 32nd Mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut (1971-1975), Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut (1959-1961)
  • Major-General Stafford LeRoy Irwin (1893-1955), American Commanding General US Forces Austria (1950-1952)
  • Brigadier-General Constant Louis Irwin (1893-1977), American Commandant Infantry Replacement Training Center Camp Blanding (1943-1944)
  • Kenneth Dale Irwin Jr. (1969-2000), American 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year
  • James Irwin (1930-1991), former NASA Astronaut with over 295 hours in space and the eighth man to walk on the Moon
  • Mr. William F Irwin, British Boy, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • William Arthur Irwin (1898-1999), Canadian journalist and diplomat
  • May Irwin (1862-1938), Canadian actress, singer, and star of vaudeville
  • Charles Irwin VC (1824-1873), Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross



  • Dartown to Fairfield and Beyond: The Descendants of John and Mary Welsh Irwin by Lyndon N. Irwin.
  • Guide to 500 Early Irwin/Ervin etc. Families in the United States by L.M. Irwin.

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.


Irwin Clan Badge
Irwin 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...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Irwin
Eavene, Eavine, Eaving, Eavink, Eawine, Eawynn, Eawynne, Ervene, Ervin, Ervine, Erving, Ervink, Ervyn, Ervynn, Erwin, Erwine, Erwing, Erwink, Erwinne, Erwyn, Erwynn, Erwynne, Evine and more.


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  1. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  5. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  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. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Irwin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Irwin 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 31 December 2015 at 13:31.

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