Recorded as MacKeon, MacKeowen, MacEwan, McKeown, McKeowon, and many other forms, this long-established surname is of Gaelic origins. Found in both Scotland arnd particularly Northern Ireland, it derives from the Old Gaelic "MacEoghainn", meaning the son of Eoghann, a male given name held to have three distinct possible sources. Firstly, Eoghan it may originate from the Latin "Eugenius", itself from the Greek "Eugenios", meaning well-born or noble. Secondly it may be a version of Eoin or Owen, Gaelic forms of John, from the Hebrew "Yochanan", meaning Jehovah has favoured (me with a son); and thirdly its roots may lie in a Celtic name meaning "born of the yew". Curiously the very first recording in any form may be in England and be that of Ewein Britto or Ewan the Breton, in the Domesday Book of Herefordshire in 1086, whilst in 1164, Ewain de Scon witnessed a charter of King Malcolm of Scotland. Early examples of the surname include: Gilpatrik MacEwen, perambulator of the lands of Kynblathmund in 1219, and Patrick McEwyn, provost of Wygtoun (1331). A Coat of Arms granted to the family in 1796 has the blazon of a silver shield with four red roses in saltire, in the centre of the field a sheaf of five arrows proper, banded azure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malcolm MacEwen, charter witness, which was dated 1174, in the "Chartulary of the Priory of St. Andrew's", Scotland, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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