November 13, 2008
This blog is written to promote sharing of information regarding McCown genealogy. After years of believing that I was of Scottish descent, my FTDNA results show quite a different story. It shows a descent in this rank order: Irish, English and Scottish with German and French following at a distance. The above ranking is at 12 markers, but when moving on to the results at 25 through 67 markers it appears to be 99% Ulster Irish with names related to Maguire predominating. Currently, Barry McCain of the FTDNA Ulster Heritage Group, http://www.ulsterheritage.com/, is working on history of two lines of McCowns, one of Argyll Galloglaigh origin and one of native Ulster origin. The two McCown lines being studied by Barry McCain are not related based on 25 through 67 marker test results.
One other name, Johnston(e), which can be of either Scots or Irish origin matches at 61/67 markers. This particular Johnstone was born in Dumfries, Scotland in 1805, although both spellings of the name also appear in Fermanagh.
In southwest Scotland both McCowans and McGowans derived their surnames from Owen the Bald, King of Strathclyde (Surnamed MacDonald). The surprise there is that these people lived in the same valley and the McGowans do not hold their name in anyway as being related to "Son of the Smith". The Gaelic form of McCown and it's spelling variants is MacEoghain (pronounced Mac Owen). Some McGowans include the form Owan as being a McGowan form.
Our family line's earliest known ancestor was Lawrence McCown, born circa 1790 somewhere in South Carolina. Family tradition has it that our earliest progenitor in the American colonies was a highland Scot who arrived here while very young. Can this be reconciled with our DNA results?
Possibly, since Irish "Scotti" invaded and traded with both Picts and Britons from at least Roman times and as recently as 1600 AD. So, if there were Maguire related families or a common ancestor with them, who settled in Scotland his DNA would come down to us relatively unchanged. That would also explain our matching a Johnston(e) as well.
My brother, Dick McCown, has done all of our known genealogical document searches. We resorted to the FTDNA Y-DNA test to see if we could push our timeline and place of origin back to an earlier time and place, thus getting around our inability to identify Lawrence McCown's parents.
Barry McCain has also postulated our descent from an O hEoghain who was of the Maguires and we in turn would be a sept of the Maguires. Whether we are Scots, Scotch-Irish or Ulstermen
we are enjoying the search and invite you to come along. If you haven't been tested by FTDNA,
then by all means do it and let us see how we stand. Also, if you don't belong to the FTDNA Ulster Heritage Group then join it and watch what happens with the MacEoghains and Mag Uidhirs (Maguires).