Last name: Cowan

This interesting name, widespread in Scotland and Ulster, is an Anglicized form of the old Gaelic MacEoghain or MacEoin. The Gaelic prefix "mac" means "son of", plus the personal name Eoghan from the old Celtic "Oue(i)n", well-born, but believed to derive ultimately from the Greek "Eugenious", "born lucky" or "well-born". In Ireland Eugene replaced Eoin, the old Irish form of John, and the various patronymic forms of the name include MacOwen, MacCown, MacCone, MacKeown. The forms Cowan, Cowen and Kewon resulted from the subsequent loss of the "Mac" prefix. In 1582 one, John Cowan was Chancellor of Christ church, Waterford, and in 1639 Cowan's Hospital in Stirling was founded by John Cowan, a merchant there. On June 29th 1643 Marionne Cowan and George Mwir were married in Ochiltree, Ayrshire. On May 8th 1846 Pat Cowan, a merchant, aged 21 yrs., embarked from Liverpool on the "Rochester" bound for New York. He was a famine immigrant to that city. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Cowan, (marriage to Edward Humphery), which was dated November 12th 1580, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Justin Cowan

Any Cowan's in California?? I am Son of Daniel Cowan originaly from Oregon.

Mike Cowan

There's a couple of us out here

Deborah cowan

I am a grandchild of the late Edward brooks cowan sr is any of my family left???? I always think of the days there were a lot of us now popopops gone and so are all of you ,,,,,,,

Deborah cowan

I am a cowan grandchild of Edward brooks cowan sr" I always wonder if there is anyone out there that might be my blood related family..?????!!! Deborah ann cowan

Not blood, I was adopted, ut my name is also Deborah Ann Cowan


Cowan from Ontario, Canada here! Whats up Cowans!


Any Cowans here with family from Tennessee, the Carolinas, or Mississippi? If so, we're related.


yes but are you on mums side or dads



Charles E. Miller

I am descended from Charles Edward Cowan and Elizabeth Emily Wynns of Bertie County, North Carolina. My Great-grandfather was a merchant and supported President Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War even though he was a southerner. My second cousin once removed was Ralph Wolfe Cowan, an internationally known artist.


Interesting. I am a Cowan but from Irish origin, not Scottish.


some cowans moved to Ireland

Becky Cowan
My grandfather came from Scotland and some of my family still live there, it's such a beautiful place

charmel a Joiner
I am a Cowna also, however, considered African American, Oby T. Cowan born a slave was of Irsih ANcestry our distant relative and 13 children were born. Because of our Irish Ancestry, Members in our family have very light skin. Considered "high Yellow", freckles and beautiful eyes and smiles.... We could be related a direct blood line.


Obt T. Cowan is my great great great grandfather :)

Chris Austin
I was adopted at birth, just found out my biological dad's name was Cowan! Scottish...that explains the freckles

Andy Cowan
Any Cowans follow me on twitter @Acey_11 haha thanks

Carlee Cowan
There are New Zealand Cowans too. My Grandfather emigrated here from Kirkcaldy, Scotland with his family when he was a toddler. Cool to hear that there are lots of us in North and South America.

jarred cowan
my dad is Scottish yay!!!. that's something we never new

Ashleigh Cowan
My grandfather came to America with my grandmother from Scotland in probably the 40s. My father and his siblings were born here.

Ernest Cowan
The spelling of the name ending en or an was a way in times gone by of knowing who was a protestant and who was a catholic in Ireland. All of them originally came from Scotland, but families split along religious lines during the reformation. Some of my relatives spell their surname Cowen some Cowan. Nowadays it just seems to be mistakes that are made on birth certificates

John Cowan
Eoghan has nothing to do with Eugenios, although Eugene was sometimes used as a replacement for it. It's a pre-Christian Irish name, transparently meaning 'born from the yew'. My grandfather came to Philadelphia from Maigh Eo, or Mayo, 'plain of the yews'.

Mona Thomson
Mona Thomson (nee Cowan) My father's family came from Haddington in East Lothian Scotland. In 200 years they hardly covered 20 miles, so it has been fairly easy to trace the family tree. The only Cowans I know are my brother Adil and his son Gabriel who live in Oxford. I live in Dumfries. Where have all the others gone????

Hannah Cowan
Im a Cowan in Oxford! My grandad moved down from Dumfries in the 40's. I stumble across more and more Cowans as time goes by!

Burnie Cowan
Hi Mona,
Get a copy of Terry Cowan's book A Cowan History". You will see your family Cowans from Haddington in East Lothian Scotland there!
Good Luck!

Burnie Cowan
Hi Mona,
Terry Cowan's book "A Cowan History" has his Cowans coming from Edington, Scotland not Haddington, Scotland, my mistake. It may be or may not be the same family.

Cowans in southamerica.I´m the grandaugther of Maria isabel cowan, her father Rodney cowan come to cartagena-colombia to work in the railroad as an engeener

Carlee Cowan
That is really neat to here that there are Cowans in South America - seems very exotic! :)

D .Kerr
Cowan - in Scotland - historically a cowan was an occupation - A cowan built 'dry stane dykes' - (stone fencing built without cement etc)...As surnames are often linked to historic occupations I would suggest that some with the Cowan surname may have got it from this occupation link.

Preston Cowan
I get the Coen pronunciation response constantly.


I think we all have haha.

(Sorry if this is a duplicate.) Richard, I have to spell out my name too: all Cowans/Cowens/Cowins have to put up with that. I also have to deal with people who look at the written version and promptly call me Mr. Cohen. My grandfather (whom I never knew) actually called himself that (and often wrote it "Coen"); the pronunciation changed in my father's time. Roosevelt, there's no reason to think all Cowans are related, any more than there's reason to think all Johnsons are related.

Roosevelt Cowan
Having researched the origin of the COWAN's and discovering the various differences in spelling. I take great pride to see that i a from a very large family. you apart of me & me apart of you. Thats fine with me:)

Richard Cowen
This entry specifically refers to the Cowan spelling of my surname. Every time we give our name to someone we have to spell it out C O W E N with an emphasis on the E.

S. Cowen
Yep...our family told us that if the name was spelled differently than "Cowen", we weren't related. Then we held a huge family reunion and I discovered that the tombstones in the family yard, where my grandfather and older ancestors were buried in homestead in Ohio (Irish immigrants) were spelled "Cowan". There went the distinction as a rule of identifying direct relatives.

Kimberly Cowan
I am a Cowan in Canada. My great-great-great-grandfather came here I think when there was the potato famine I think... Bennet Cowan who had Henry cowan who had Kenneth Cowan than my dad Keith Cowan...I think...

merv cowan
hi i live i australia and through a family history check cowan can be spelt many ways, back in the day they didnt really go by spelling more how it sounds even between father and son they could spell last name differently. i have a copy a cowan history going back to 1066AD if anyone wants a look just email me at

Eric David Cowan
Hi Merv, I live in Oz too, since 1977, ex Africa, ex Glasgow where I was born in WWII. My father was John and he and my uncle owned and ran "Cowan's Sweets" with a factory in Glasgow and, at one stage, 29 "sweetie' shops throughout Scotland. I'd very much appreciate a look at your family history.