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Surname O'Gowen - Meaning and Origin

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O'Gowen: What does the surname O'Gowen mean?

The last name O’Gowen is an anglicized version of the Irish surname O’Gobhain, which is derived from the ancient Irish word 'gobha' meaning 'blacksmith'. The O’Gowen surname is thought to have first appeared in the 12th century in Ireland’s western province of Connacht.

The name O'Gowen is associated with various powerful families throughout Irish history who have held prominent posts in the country’s political and legal systems. In 1690, an O’Gowen family was listed as the most prominent in County Mayo, where their descendants had built a castle for defense against the Broadwell family. In the 18th century, the O’Gowen family were also listed as one of the prominent families of County Leitrim.

More recently, an O’Gowen family were found involved in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, as two of their sons fought in an engagement at Ross on the River Shannon. It is believed that the O’Gowen surname is still located throughout Ireland, although some of the current bearers have adopted the anglicized version of Gowan.

Since the 19th century, many of those bearing the O’Gowen surname have left Ireland and settled in other countries, with a large population living in the United States today. As such, the O’Gowen surname has a long and proud Irish history and is still carried on by many people around the world.

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O'Gowen: Where does the name O'Gowen come from?

The last name O'Gowen is most commonly found in County Cork in Ireland. The surname originates from the ancient Gaelic Clan O'Gobhainn and is most frequently found in the southwest of Ireland, along the River Lee and the Shannon Estuary. Records show that the first O'Gowen family was established in County Cork in 1169 and many other families subsequently migrated there over the centuries.

The surname O'Gowen can be found in Anglo-Irish and Celtic varieties. The Anglo-Irish variety often appears as Gowen or Gough. The names were Anglicised during the Plantation of Ulster, when settlers from England and Scotland adopted Gaelic surnames. The other connotation of the name is in relation to the ancient Celtic Culdee culture.

Today, O'Gowen families can be found spread throughout the world, with the highest concentrations in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Emigration from Ireland began in the mid-18th century as a result of changes in the land ownership system, and subsequently spread the surname far and wide. The United States alone is home to tens of thousands of individuals with the O'Gowen name.

The surname O'Gowen can also be found in Australia, Canada and many other places around the world, indicating the group's widespread roots. Despite rising globalisation and increasing intermarriage, the O'Gowen surname has held strong and remains one of the most popular surnames in both Ireland and the UK.

Variations of the surname O'Gowen

The surname O'Gowen has several variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. Variants of the name include O'Gowan, O'Gown, Gowen, Gown, Gowing, Goughan, Goughin, Goughen, Gowin, Gowing, Goun, Goon, Goone, Goonie, Gooson, Goozon, Goshon, Goughn, Goughnour, Goughonour, Goughorn, Goughron, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin and Gowney.

It is an anglicized iteration of the Irish surname ‘Ó Gabháin’, which is derived from the Gaelic masculine name ‘Gobhann’, meaning smith. Historically, the easternmost parts of modern counties Mayo and Sligo were known as Magh Gobhann, which in translation means the plain of the smith.

The O'Gowens were a learned family who owned land, and when various Irish revolts against the English took place in the late 16th and 17th centuries, many of the family became involved in plotting and leading the insurrections. One notable member is Flan O'Gowan, who was a leader of the Irish Confederate forces in the Irish Civil War of 1641.

The O'Gowens have since spread across the world, with many members of the family settling in England, Scotland, the United States and Canada.

Despite the changes in spelling and variants of the name, all of these surnames bear a common origin and share the same source of the Irish name ‘Ó Gabháin’ and the Gaelic name ‘Gobhann’.

Famous people with the name O'Gowen

  • Daniel O'Gowan: an American actor, writer, and producer best known for his role in US television series "Criminal Minds".
  • Harry O'Gowan: an Irish actor best known for his roles in British television series "Misfits" and "Foyles War".
  • John O'Gowan: an Irish painter, illustrator and political cartoonist who lived from 1866 to 1951.
  • Cheryl O'Gowan: an Australian novelist whose works feature a strong ethnic flavor from the Northern Territory.
  • Mark O'Gowen: an American writer and former NFL star who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1998 to 2006.
  • Barry O'Gowan: a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers from 1971 to 1982.
  • Damian O'Gowan: a professional soccer player, born in Dublin and currently playing for the Limerick Third Division amateur team.
  • Marie O'Gowen: an Irish philanthropist and the founding mother of St. Bridget's School in Dublin.
  • Shannon O'Gowen: an American actress and voice over artist, best known for her role in the animated series "Avatar: The Last Airbender".
  • Joseph O'Gowen: born in London in 1729, he was among the first group of Irish travelers and one of the earliest members of the O'Gowan clan.

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