McCowan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name McCowan was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived in the Scottish-English border region. The McCowan family lived in Ayrshire.

Early Origins of the McCowan family

The surname McCowan was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the McCowan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCowan research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCowan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCowan Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years McCowan has been spelled Cowan, Cowans, Cowen, Cowens, MacCowan, MacCowden and many more.

Early Notables of the McCowan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early McCowan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McCowan family to Ireland

Some of the McCowan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McCowan migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

McCowan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick McCowan, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764 [1]
McCowan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John T McCowan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [1]
  • Agnes McCowan, aged 16, who arrived in New York in 1864 [1]
  • J. G. McCowan, aged 32, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1892
  • Grace McCowan, aged 5, who immigrated to the United States, in 1895
McCowan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Rosa McCowan, aged 24, who settled in America from Georgetown, in 1904
  • Wm. McCowan, aged 34, who landed in America from Georgetown, in 1904
  • John McCowan, aged 47, who landed in America from Paisley, in 1906
  • Harry McCowan, aged 34, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1908
  • Patrick McCowan, aged 21, who settled in America from Ballina, Ireland, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McCowan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCowan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Patrick McCowan U.E. who settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]

Australia McCowan migration to Australia +

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

McCowan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James McCowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [3]
  • Susannah McCowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [3]

New Zealand McCowan 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:

McCowan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • F. McCowan, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [4]
  • David McCowan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1874
  • Jessie McCowan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name McCowan (post 1700) +

  • Mandy McCowan, American production manager, known for The Walking Dead (2010), The Collection (2012) and One Missed Call (2008)
  • Andrew McCowan, Scottish founder of McCowan's Ltd, a Scottish confectionery company specializing in toffee and fudge
  • John McCowan (1863-1900), Scottish physicist
  • George McCowan (1927-1995), Canadian Western Heritage Award winning film and television director, known for Seeing Things (1981), The Forest Rangers (1963) Charlie's Angels (1976-1980) and The Return of Mod Squad (1979)
  • Robert Herman "Bob" McCowan (1875-1941), Australian rugby union player who represented the Australia National Team in 1899
  • Alexander McCowan (1853-1939), Canadian farmer and politician in Ontario, eponym of McCowan Rd, Scarborough
  • Sir Hew Cargill McCowan (1930-1998), 3rd Baronet of Dalwhat in the County of Dumfries, Scottish peer
  • Sir David James Cargill McCowan (1897-1965), 2nd Baronet of Dalwhat in the County of Dumfries, Scottish peer
  • Sir David William Cargill McCowan (b. 1934), 4th Baronet of Dalwhat in the County of Dumfries, Scottish peer
  • Sir David McCowan (1860-1937), 1st Baronet of Dalwhat, Dumfries, senior partner in William Euing & Co, marine insurance brokers, and Honorary President of the Scottish Unionist Association
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. James McCowan, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [5]


The McCowan 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: Sic itur in altum
Motto Translation: This is the way to heaven.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Fairfield.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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