McGawlin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name McGawlin comes from the Irish Gaelic O Cathalain. The Gaelic versions of today's Irish names demonstrate a link to a proud, ancient past. The name is possibly derived from Cathalan, king of Farney slain in 1028, whose name means Little Charles, and from whom the family is thought to have descended. Cathalan was in turn descended from Coleman Mor, the king of Meath and (the 133rd Monarch of Ireland).
Early Origins of the McGawlin family
The surname McGawlin was first found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.
Caillin (fl. 560), was an Irish saint, "son of Niata, descended from Rudraighe, whose grandson, Fergus Mac Roigh, flourished at the beginning of the Christian era. His mother was Deighe, granddaughter of Dubhthach, chief poet of King Laogaire in the time of St. Patrick. The authority for the history of St. Caillin is the ancient ‘Book of Fenagh,’ a series of poetical rhapsodies, written about 1400, a copy of which with a connecting narrative in prose was made in 1516. we may gather the following facts of St. Caillin's history from this curious repertory of ancient traditions: ‘The descendants of Medbh and Fergus, viz. the children of Conmac, Ciar, and Corc, grew and multiplied throughout Ireland. The children of Conmac especially were in Connaught.’ Those were the Conmaicne of Dunmor, kinsmen of Caillin's. Resolved to remedy the congestion of the population by killing each other, the Conmaicne would no doubt have carried out their plan but for the interference of St. Caillin. By the advice of an angel they sent messengers to him at Rome, whither he had gone for his education." 
Early History of the McGawlin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGawlin research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1027 and 1280 are included under the topic Early McGawlin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McGawlin Spelling Variations
Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname McGawlin are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include Callan, Callanan, Caillan, Calan, Calanan, Callen, Callin, Callon, Callinan, Callinon and many more.
Early Notables of the McGawlin family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early McGawlin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McGawlin family
The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the McGawlin family relocated to North American shores quite early: Peter Callan who settled in Cape Elizabeth, Maine in 1683; Charles Callan settled in Delaware in 1772; Alexander Callan settled in Wilmington, N.C. in 1774.
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- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print