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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the McKeown family in Ireland was Mac Eogain in Connacht, and Mac Eoin in east Ulster. Both of these names connote a son of John, or a son of Owen.


Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name McKeown revealed many variations, including Keon, MacKeon, MacKeown, MacKewan, MacKoun, MacWing, Hone, MacOwen, Mageown and many more.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where the first people to use this surname are thought to have originated. Soon thereafter, the name was also found in neighboring Leitrim.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKeown research. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKeown History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McKeown Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McKeown or a variant listed above, including:

McKeown Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexr McKeown, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Dan McKeown, who arrived in America in 1806
  • Hugh McKeown, who landed in South Carolina in 1810
  • Moses McKeown, who landed in South Carolina in 1810
  • Margaret McKeown, who landed in New York, NY in 1816

McKeown Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Peter McKeown, aged 13, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Silestria" from Belfast
  • Michael McKeown, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast
  • Rose McKeown, aged 23, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast
  • Kitty McKeown, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast
  • Ally McKeown, aged 22, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834

McKeown Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas McKeown (aged 21) arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"

McKeown Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Nicholas McKeown arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Thomas McKeown, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Assaye" in 1874
  • John McKeown, aged 43, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Mary A. McKeown, aged 32, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • James McKeown, aged 8, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879


  • Erin McKeown (b. 1977), American folk-rock singer
  • Bishop Donal McKeown (b. 1950), Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor
  • Gerard McKeown (b. 1980), Northern Irish poet, recipient of the 2007 Belfast Performance Poetry
  • Laurence McKeown (b. 1956), Provisional Irish Republican Army member who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike
  • Robert "Bob" McKeown, Canadian investigative reporter with the CBC
  • Charles McKeown (b. 1946), British actor and writer, best known for his work with Monty Phython's Terry Gilliam
  • Leslie Richard McKeown (b. 1955), Scottish pop singer
  • Mary Margaret McKeown (b. 1951), federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Gary McKeown (b. 1970), retired British footballer
  • Mr. Malachi James McKeown (1919-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Newtown, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking



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  1. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  6. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  11. ...

The McKeown Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKeown 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 19 December 2014 at 07:49.

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