Remembered as one of the so-called 'Tribes of Galway', the KERWINS, unlike all but one other of those families, were of native Irish stock, being descendants of the O'Ciardubhain sept. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name is also spelt CARVIN, KERVAN, KEREVAN, and KERVON. A notable member of the name was Richard KIRWAN (1733-1812) the Irish chemist, born in Galway. In 1784, he published the first systematic treatise on mineralogy and was a leading exponent of the Phlogistin Theory. Strangely now the name is quite rare in Connacht; the majority of Kirwan families are in Leinster, particularly in and around Dublin and in County Wexford, far from the ancestral home of the sept. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
Orders over $85 qualify for Free Shipping within the U.S. (Use coupon code: FREESHIP).