This interesting surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Scots Gaelic "Mac a'ghobhainn", Old Irish "Mac an Ghabhain", son of the smith, from "Mac", son of, with the definite article "an", and "gobhann, gabhann", smith. The Scottish family of the name was chiefly found in Stirlingshire, and the Irish Mac an Ghabhains were one of the principal septs of Breffny, and ancient territory comprising County Cavan and west Leitrim. Early examples of the surname from Scotland include: Gilbert Makgowin, a follower of the earl of Cassilis, who was respited for murder in 1526; William McGown, a follower of Ross of Pitcalny (1592); and Margaret M'Goune, who was retoured heir of Alexander M'Goune, merchant in Dumfries (1682). In the process of Angliciation "Mac a'Ghobhainn" has acquired a number of variant forms including: MacGowan, MacGown, MacGoun, MacGoune and McGoon(e). A distinct surname, Mageown, is one of the recorded synonyms of MacGowan, and consequently may, in some cases, be the source of McGoon. Mageown derives from the Old Gaelic (Scots and Irish) "MacEoghainn", son of Eoghann or Owen, from the Greek "Eugenios", "well-born", the Gaelic "Eoin", John, or the Celtic "Eoghain", youth. On September 19th 1865, the birth of Hugh, son of Charles McGoone and Margaret Reilly, was recorded at Mohill, County Leitrim. The family Coat of Arms is a silver shield with a red lion rampant between two green cinquefoils. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilcallum McGoun, which was dated 1503, in the "Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland", during the reign of King James 1V of Scotland, 1488 - 1513. 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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