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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: Irish, Scottish
The ancient Scottish name McGowan 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.
When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. McGowan has been written 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.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGowan research. Another 315 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1396, 1613, 1698 and 1725 are included under the topic Early McGowan History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGowan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the McGowan 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.
The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of McGowan:
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
- Patrick McGowan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764
McGowan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Philip McGowan, aged 34, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
- Danl McGowan, who landed in New York, NY in 1803
- Grace McGowan, aged 27, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
- Fras McGowan, who landed in New York, NY in 1804
- Mark McGowan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804
McGowan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Hugh McGowan, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
- Ellen McGowan, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
- Ann McGowan, aged 16, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
- John McGowan, aged 13, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
- Matty McGowan, aged 24, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
McGowan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- James McGowan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
- Susannah McGowan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
- Jessie Newall McGowan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
- Mary Anne McGowan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
- Susan McGowan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839
McGowan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- William McGowan, aged 25, a ploughman, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
- Sarah McGowan, aged 21, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
- Katherine McGowan, aged 18, a servant, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
- Thomas Mcgowan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Surat" in 1864
- W. S. McGowan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "James Lister" in 1865
- 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)
- The Ancestry of Thomas W. McGowan by Thomas W. McGowan.
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.
- Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
- Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
- Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
- Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
- Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
- Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
- Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
- Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
- Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
- Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
The McGowan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGowan 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 25 March 2016 at 16:54.
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