Shaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The clans of the Pictish people in ancient Scotland were the ancestors of the first people to use the name Shaw. It was a name for a person who shared some of the qualities attributed to a wolf. Shaw is a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. The surname Shaw is derived from the Gaelic first name Sithech, which means wolf.

Early Origins of the Shaw family

The surname Shaw was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where the family appears to have been firmly entrenched in the Eastern coastal regions well before 1000 AD.

While some claim that the Clan originally descended from a MacDuff, one of the ancient Earls of Fife, the first official mention in documents shows them to be present at the General Council held by King Malcolm at Forfar in 1061.

However, this ancient leadership was challenged by many other Clans Commyns (Cummings) who had leased the Shaw lands of Rothiemurchus.

Early History of the Shaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shaw research. Another 369 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1178, 1226, 1405, 1411, 1527, 1550, 1602, 1608, 1672, 1776, 1832, 1692, 1751, 1774, 1849, 1804, 1826, 1799, 1876, 1625 and are included under the topic Early Shaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shaw Spelling Variations

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Shaw has appeared Shaw, Shawe, Mac Ghille-Sheathanaich (Gaelic) and others.

Early Notables of the Shaw family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Robert Shaw (died 1527), Scottish cluniac monk and prelate; William Schawe (1550-1602), Scottish architect, probably a younger son of Schaw of Sauchie; John Shawe or Shaw (1608-1672), an English puritan minister from Yorkshire...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Shaw family to Ireland

Some of the Shaw family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Shaw migration to the United States +

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Shaw:

Shaw Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Nich Shaw, who arrived in Virginia in 1618 [1]
  • Annis Shaw, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [1]
  • Anne Shaw, who settled in Virginia in 1635 along with Richard and William
  • Roger Shaw, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636 [1]
  • Abraham Shaw, who landed in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1637 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Shaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Shaw, who arrived in Virginia in 1701-1702 [1]
  • Ewen Shaw, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • Angus Shaw, who landed in Virginia in 1716 [1]
  • Donald Shaw, who settled in Virginia in 1716
  • Ewen Shaw, who settled in South Carolina in 1716 along with John
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Shaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Shaw, who arrived in America in 1801 [1]
  • Joseph Shaw, who arrived in America in 1805 [1]
  • James Shaw, who arrived in America in 1805 [1]
  • Nathaniel Shaw, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806 [1]
  • Elijah Shaw, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Shaw migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shaw Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Shaw, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Shaw, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Sarah Shaw, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Peter Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • John Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Shaw Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Shaw, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • James Shaw, who landed in Canada in 1828
  • Samuel Shaw, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • Thomas Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mary Shaw, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1844
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Shaw migration to Australia +

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

Shaw Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Shaw, English convict who was convicted in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • William Shaw, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • William Shaw, a cooper, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Francis Shaw, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 13th March 1828, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Mr. William Shaw, English convict who was convicted in Durham, England for 14 years , transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 13th March 1828, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Shaw 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:

Shaw Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elihu Shaw, who landed in Kaipara, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship Coromandel
  • John Shaw, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Shaw, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • Ebenezer Shaw, who landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • James Shaw, who landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Shaw (post 1700) +

  • George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish Nobel Prize-winning and Academy Award-winning playwright, essayist and critic, eponym of the Shaw Festival, Niagara on the Lake, Canada
  • Charles Alexander Shaw (1944-2020), American jurist, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (2000-2020)
  • Rick Shaw (1938-2017), born James Harold Hummell III, an American disc jockey, radio and television personality
  • Lee Shaw (1926-2015), nicknamed the "First Lady of Jazz", an American jazz pianist and composer
  • Eddie Shaw (1937-2018), American Chicago blues tenor saxophonist, arranger and bandleader from Stringtown, Mississippi; he led Howlin' Wolf's band and Wolf Gang (1972-1976)
  • Charles "Bobo" Shaw (1947-2017), American free jazz drummer
  • Leander J. Shaw Jr. (1930-2015), American jurist, Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 1990 to 1992
  • Gaylord Dewayne Shaw (1942-2015), American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in 1978
  • Michael Shaw (1943-2005), American journalist awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1991
  • Wilbur Shaw (1902-1954), American 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500 winner
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Henry Edward Shaw, British Baker from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [5]
Halifax Explosion
  • Ms. Sarah Jane Shaw, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [6]
  • Mrs. Mary  Shaw (1847-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [6]
  • Mrs. Margaret  Shaw (1847-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [6]
  • Master Charles William  Shaw (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [6]
  • Miss Nellie May  Shaw (1917-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [6]
  • ... (Another 9 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Shaw, British Petty Office Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [7]
  • Mr. Shaw, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [7]
  • Mr. Shaw, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing in action 1942 [7]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Douglas Shaw, British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [8]
  • Mr. Robert Stitt Shaw (b. 1914), English Able Bodied Seaman from Allerton, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [8]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Stephen Shaw (1918-1939), British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Emily Shaw, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [10]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Clyde Donald Shaw, American Seaman First Class from Ohio, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [11]
  • Mr. Robert K. Shaw, American Musician Second Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Shaw +

  • 137 Beacon Hill's Colonel Robert Gould Shaw by Marion Whitney Smith, Eight Generations of the Family of John Shaw, 1788-1858 and his Wife, Nancy Worthy Shaw, 1788-1846 of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi by William David McCain, Isaac Towell & his Family by Roy H. Towell.

  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  5. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  6. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  7. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  8. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  9. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  10. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  11. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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