Where did the Scottish McGowan family come from? What is the Scottish coat of arms/family crest? When did the McGowan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the history of the family name?
McGowan comes from the Gaelic Mac Ghobhainn, meaning 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 where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
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: Thomas Gowen who settled in Virginia in 1635; James Gowen settled in Annapolis in 1729; Duncan Gowan settled in the Barbados in 1745; John and Walter Gow arrived in New York in 1820.
Motto Translated: Arms united to merit.
For more information on the last name McGowan, the PDF Surname History is available for purchase as well as other products.
Suggested Readings for the name McGowan
* The Ancestry of Thomas W. McGowan by Thomas W. McGowan.
Some noteworthy people of the name McGowan
* Robert Francis McGowan (1882-1955), American film director and producer
* Tom McGowan (b. 1959), American television actor
* Rear Admiral Samuel McGowan, eponym of USS McGowan (DD-678)
* Brian McGowan (b. 1938), Australian politician, and former Australian rules football player
* Harry John Charles McGowan (b. 1971), 4th Baron McGowan
* Frankie McGowan, English author
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