McGowan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McGowan surname derives from the Irish Gaelic name Mac an Ghabhain, which means "son of the blacksmith." As such, the name was probably originally occupational. It has often appeared in its Anglicized form Smith.

Early Origins of the McGowan family

The surname McGowan was first found in County Cavan, where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity. The Irish name MacGowan (not to be confused with the Scottish, which roots from MacGoun) is most often hidden under the ubiquitous name Smith. In Irish, the name is Mac an Ghabhain, which means 'son of the blacksmith'; thus its translation to Smith. In England, Horsington Manor in Somerset was owned by the Gowens family from sometime in the 1500s through 1653 when it was sold.

Early History of the McGowan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGowan research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 165 and 1659 are included under the topic Early McGowan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGowan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Smith, MacGowan, McGowan, MacGowin, McGowin, MacGowen, McGowen, Gow, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin, MacGavin and many more.

Early Notables of the McGowan family (pre 1700)

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


United States McGowan migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGowan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Archibald McGowan, who arrived with his children Duncan, John and Margaret in New York, NY in 1739
  • Archibald McGowan, who arrived in New York in 1739 [1]
  • Patrick McGowan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764 [1]
McGowan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip McGowan, aged 34, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Danl McGowan, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Grace McGowan, aged 27, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Fras McGowan, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [1]
  • Mark McGowan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGowan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGowan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Hugh McGowan, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Ellen McGowan, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Ann McGowan, aged 16, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
  • John McGowan, aged 13, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
  • Matty McGowan, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McGowan migration to Australia +

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

McGowan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James McGowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [2]
  • Susannah McGowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [2]
  • Jessie Newall McGowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [2]
  • Mary Anne McGowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [2]
  • Susan McGowan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McGowan 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:

McGowan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William McGowan, aged 25, a ploughman, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Sarah McGowan, aged 21, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Katherine McGowan, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • M. McGowan, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [3]
  • Thomas Mcgowan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Surat" in 1864
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McGowan (post 1700) +

  • Joseph J. McGowan (1945-2016), American academic, President of Bellarmine University (1990-2016)
  • Ned McGowan (b. 1970), American composer and flutist
  • John "Jack" McGowan (1894-1977), American librettist, director and producer
  • John W. "Jack" McGowan (1930-2001), American professional PGA golfer
  • John McGowan (b. 1831), Irish-born, American Union Navy sailor in the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Jonas Hartzell McGowan (1837-1909), American politician, United States Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Michigan (1877-1881)
  • Charles M. McGowan (1923-2013), American businessman and politician, Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1967-1978)
  • William Aloysius "Bill" McGowan (1896-1954), American Major League Baseball umpire from 1925 to 1954, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992
  • Archibald C. McGowan (1822-1893), American merchant and politician, Member of New York State Assembly in 1863, 1866 and New York State Senator (1872-1875)
  • Gerald S. McGowan (b. 1946), American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Portugal (1998 to 2001)
  • ... (Another 75 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Thomas Henry McGowan (1920-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Tongala, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [4]
RMS Lusitania
RMS Titanic
  • Miss Anna F. "Annie" McGowan, aged 16, Irish Third Class passenger from Massbrook, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13 [6]
  • Miss Catherine McGowan (d. 1912), aged 42, Irish Third Class passenger from Terry, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [6]


The McGowan 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: Tenebras expellit et hostes
Motto Translation: He drives forth the darkness and the foe.


Suggested Readings for the name McGowan +

  • 921 The Ancestry of Thomas W. McGowan by Thomas W. McGowan.

  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PLANTER 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Planter.htm
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  5. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  6. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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