This surname, widespread in Scotland and Ulster, is an Anglicized form of the old Gaelic MacEoghain
. 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
, the old Irish form of John
, and the various patronymic forms of the name include MacOwen
The forms Cowan, Cowen
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 I.