Magowan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
When Magowan was first used as a surname among the ancient Scottish people, it was a name for a metalworker. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Ghobhainn, which means son of the smith. 
Early Origins of the Magowan family
The surname Magowan was first found in Inverness-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) divided between the present day Scottish Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles, and consisting of a large northern mainland area and various island areas off the west coast, the shire was anciently both a Pictish and Norwegian stronghold, where the name is from the Gaelic 'Govha' meaning 'a blacksmith' and as such could have been a name that applied to people throughout Scotland.
However, as in the case of clans like the Fletchers or Clarks, eventually the name became attributed to a specific area or region. As such, The Clan was also located in Nithsfield in the 12th century, and recorded as a Border Clan. To the west in Elgin and Galloway they were known as the MacGavins. Due to the Anglicization of the Gaelic name, spellings were often widely different.
"MacGowan (McGowan) is the name of an old Stirling family. Gilcallum McGoun had a precept of remission for rapine and other crimes on the lands of the abbot of Cupar, 1503 (RSS., I, 953). Gilbert Makgowin, a follower of the earl of Cassilis, was respited for murder in 1526 (ibid., 3386). William McGown in Pitcalny, a follower of Ross of Pitcalny, 1592 (RPC., V, p. 31). Murchie McGowy or Muithie McGowne in Fanmoir, Mull, was put to horn in 1629 (RPC., 2 ser. II, p. 341; III, p. 45). Alister McGhowin, an engager on royalist side, in parish of Urray, 1649 (IDR., p. 368). Alexander M'Gowne was retoured heir in the lands of Langlandes of Lochanes in the territory of Dumfries, 1672." 
"In the reign of David II there was a Clan M'Gowan, probably located somewhere on the river Nith, whose chiefship was adjudged to Donald Edzear (RMS., I, App II, 982). This Edzear was a descendant of Dunegal of Stranith (Nithsdale), whose seat was at Morton, Dumfriesshire, about the beginning of the twelfth century. The name here may indicate descent from Owen the Bald (the Eugenius Calvin of Simeon of Durham), king of the Strathclyde Britons, who was killed in 1018." 
Early History of the Magowan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Magowan research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1396, 1613, 1698, 1725, 1631, 1683, 1631, 1658, 1661 and are included under the topic Early Magowan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Magowan Spelling Variations
The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Magowan has been spelled MacGowan, McGowan, MacGowin, McGowin, MacGowen, McGowen, Gow, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin, MacGavin, McGavin and many more.
Early Notables of the Magowan family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan at this time was John Gow (c. 1698-1725), Scottish notorious pirate probably born in Wick, Caithness whose short career was immortalized by Charles Johnson in "A General History of the Pyrates."
Thomas Gowan (1631-1683), was a writer on logic, "born at Caldermuir, Scotland...
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Magowan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Magowan family to Ireland
Some of the Magowan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 99 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Magowan migration to the United States +
This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Magowan:
Magowan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Walter Magowan, who landed in Virginia in 1768 
Magowan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Thomas Magowan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827 
- Samuel Magowan, aged 36, who arrived in America in 1822 
- John Magowan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1831 
Magowan migration to Canada +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Magowan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Mary Magowan, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo, Ireland
- Mary Magowan, aged 29, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo, Ireland
- Ellen Magowan, aged 33, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo, Ireland
- Mary Magowan, aged 25, who landed in Quebec in 1834
- Nancy Magowan, aged 24, who arrived in Quebec in 1834
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name Magowan (post 1700) +
- Peter A. Magowan (b. 1942), American former managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball team
- Mr. Robert Andrew Magowan C.B., C.B.E. (b. 1967), British Major General for the Royal Marines currently serving as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, was appointed Companion of the Order of Bath on 8th June 2018 and Commander of the British Empire in 2013 
- Sir John Hall Magowan KBE, CMG, LLD (d. 1951), British diplomat, British Ambassador to Venezuela from 1948 to 1951
- Peter Magowan (1762-1810), English-born, Canadian lawyer and politician in Prince Edward Island
- Ken Magowan (b. 1981), Canadian professional ice hockey player
- Katie Victoria "Kate" Magowan (b. 1975), English actress
- John MaGowan (b. 1941), Northern Irish darts player
Related Stories +
The Magowan 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: Juncta arma decori
Motto Translation: Arms united to merit.
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ 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)
- ^ 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)
- ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 4 July 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1