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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

Where did the Scottish McGavin family come from? What is the Scottish McGavin family crest and coat of arms? When did the McGavin family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McGavin family history?

The ancient Scottish name McGavin is carried by the descendents of the Pictish people. It was a name for a metalworker. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Ghobhainn, which means son of the smith.

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Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. McGavin has appeared MacGowan, McGowan, MacGowin, McGowin, MacGowen, McGowen, Gow, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin, MacGavin, McGavin and many more.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGavin research. Another 315 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1396, 1613, 1698 and 1725 are included under the topic Early McGavin History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 53 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGavin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McGavin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 187 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGavin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James McGavin arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Alice Brooks" in 1839

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  • Darren McGavin (1922-2006), American Emmy Award winning actor
  • Steven James "Steve" McGavin (b. 1969), English former professional footballer
  • Major General Sir Donald Johnstone McGavin (1876-1960), English-born, New Zealand surgeon, army health administrator and medical administrator
  • George C. McGavin FLS FRGS, Scottish entomologist, author, academic, television presenter and explorer
  • Janis McGavin, Australian actress and comedy performer
  • Dr. Hugh James McGavin (1874-1958), Canadian politician in Manitoba, Canada


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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.

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Popular Family Crest Products
 
McGavin Armorial History With Coat of Arms
McGavin Coat of Arms & Surname History Package
McGavin Family Crest Image (jpg) Heritage Series
McGavin Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chain
McGavin Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee Mug
McGavin Armorial History with Frame
McGavin Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms
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  1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  3. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The McGavin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGavin 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 7 March 2013 at 14:02.

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