McGowan

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About us

The MCGOWAN Surname Y-DNA Project was established to create a growing database of DNA profiles of male variants of this surname descendants to aid in genealogical research. DNA analysis can assist in supporting or refuting the premise that two or more participants descend from a common ancestor.

Requirements: Since a Surname Project in essence traces members of a family that share a common surname, and females (a) don't carry their father's Y-DNA, and (b) acquire a new surname by the way of marriage, in order to be relevant to the Surname Project, the tested individual must be a male that wants to check his paternal line (father's father's father's...). The test to be ordered is the Y-DNA12, Y-DNA25, Y-DNA37,Y-DNA67, or Y-DNA111 and females should look for a brother or cousin with that surname to be tested. Females can also order a test for themselves, which will be the mtDNA or mtDNAPlus, but the results of this test cannot be tied to the Surname Project because they are ancestral.

This project encourages Participants to betested at the highest number of markers that they can afford, but suggests theY-DNA37 test at minimum.

McGowan & variants of the name - History of a surname:

McGowan and variants can be an Irish or a Scottish name. In both Ireland and Scotland, the name derives from the Gaelic word `gabha', meaning son of the iron worker or sometimes anglicized as `smith'.  Other variants are Gowan, Gowen, Going, Gowanson, and Gow. 

In Ireland, the sept Mac an Ghabhan, meaning 'son of the smith', originated in County Cavan in southern Ulster where, in medieval times, they were included by the chroniclers of the O'Rilleys as one of the principal septs, or families, of the kingdom of Breffny.  In the following centuries, many of this family chose, or were forced, to anglicize the name to Smith or Smythe. This occurred especially during the time of English oppression of all things Irish, when the Irish could not vote, hold public office, own property, educate their children or worship as they chose.*(In this manner, the English sought to "civilize" the wild Irish.) On the borders of Breffny, in County Leitrim, to the northwest in Counties Donegal and Sligo, and to the north in Counties Monaghan, Tyrone and Derry, MacGowan,or McGowan is still used in preference to Smith.

Further confusionarises from the fact that the Gaelic surname MacDhubhain, a family of Raphoe, County Donegal, and also of County Clare, where the anglicized form is MacGuane, has become MacGowan; while Mac Gamhna, normally Gaffney, is also rendered MacGowan in some places.

Ballygowan in CountyDown is of no connection, being named from one of the septs of O'Gowans. That name is rare in modern times, as it too was anglicized to Smith. However, O'Gowans were in the census of 1659 as one of the principal Irish names in Counties Monaghan and Fermanagh.

In Scotland, Mac an Ghobhain was anglicized to MacGowan. Mac Gobha, later McGow, was also made MacGowan.  As the maker of arms and armor, the smith was an important hereditary position in each clan and there were MacGowans, or MacGouns, found throughout the Highlands. The two most important septs, however, were the MacGowans of Clan Donald (MacDonald) and those of Clan MacPherson. There was also a Clan M'Gowan noted in fourteenth century Nithsdale in Dumfriesshire, and in Sterlingshire there was an old family of MacGowans of uncertain origin.