Rowen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Rowen is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Rowen is a place-name from in Rouen, the capital of Normandy. The surname was derived from the Viscountcy of Rohan, in Brittany, in France. As a local name, it could also have been derived from the local at the rowan which referred to a residence beside a rowan-tree. Habitation names were derived from the name of the town, village or hamlet where the person originally lived.

Early Origins of the Rowen family

The surname Rowen was first found in Durham where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Rowen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rowen research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1393, 1350, 1366, 1692, 1618 and 1639 are included under the topic Early Rowen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rowen Spelling Variations

Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Roan, Rohan, Roohan, Rome, Rowan and others.

Early Notables of the Rowen family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Rougham (died 1393), the second master of Gonville Hall, Cambridge. He had been a fellow of the college since the 1350s...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rowen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rowen family to Ireland

Some of the Rowen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 112 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rowen migration to the United States +

Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Rowen, or a variant listed above:

Rowen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Rowen, who arrived in Virginia in 1621 [1]
  • Peter Rowen, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [1]
Rowen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • L Rowen, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • Martin Rowen, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]

Australia Rowen migration to Australia +

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

Rowen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Rowen, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • Peter Rowen, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • Timothy Rowen, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"

New Zealand Rowen 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:

Rowen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Rowen, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [2]
  • Mr. John Rowen, (b. 1854), aged 19, English collier from Hereford travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Surat" going to Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1873, the ship sunk at the Catlins River all the passengers were transported to Dunedin via various rescure vessels [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rowen (post 1700) +

  • Henry S. Rowen (1925-2015), American national security expert, economist, and academician, president of RAND Corporation (1967-1972), Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1989-1991)
  • W. Edward Rowen (1857-1892), American Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1882-1884
  • Victor Rowen (1919-2013), American college football player and coach
  • Herbert Harvey Rowen (1916-1999), American historian of Early Modern Europe
  • Keith Rowen (b. 1952), American football coach, former offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals
  • Paul John Rowen (b. 1955), British Liberal Democrat politician, Member of Parliament for Rochdale (2005 to 2010)


  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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