Kirwan Family History


of County Galway, Ireland
and Dorchester County, Maryland

Below are a few links on the early Kirwan family of County Galway, Ireland. An early mention of this kirwan family is from The History of Galway, Part I, Chapter I, by James Hardiman:


This name and family are Irish, and the heralds have gone very far back indeed to deduce their origin. They tell us, that Maoldabhreac, son of Fiobhrann, son of Finghin, descended from Heremon, second son of Milesius, was father of Ciorrovan or Kirrovan, from whom the KIRWANS are descended. They appear to have settled in Galway, in the reign of Henry Vl, about which time, the name first occurs in its modern form, mention being then made of William KIRWAN and his children. Some think them much more ancient, supposing them to be the family of KIRWICKE, already enumerated amongst the more early inhabitants of the town; and this supposition is very probable, as the orthography of the name has undergone various changes, viz. O'QUIRIVAN, KYRVAN, KEROVAN, KIREVANE, &c. but it is now generally written KIRWAN. To this name and family, Ireland is indebted for two individuals, of the first order of genius, men whose splendid talents have raised their native country to a most elevated point in the scale of literature and science; by those the reader may easily anticipate, are meant the celebrated Dean Kirwan, and his distinguished relative and friend, the late Richard KIRWAN, Esq. of Cregg; the former, acknowledged to have been the first christian orator of his day, and the latter, one of the greatest philosophers of the age in which he lived. Biographical accounts of these eminent men, will be found in another part of this volume. The families of Blindwell, Castlehackett, Cregg, Gardenfield, Glan, Hillsbrook and Woodfield, in the County of Galway; and Dalgin, in the County of Mayo, are the principal of the name. Arms. Argent, a chevron, between three shelldrakes, sable, beaked and legged, gules. Crest. A shelldrake close, sable, beaked and legged. gules. Motto: J'aim mon Dieu, mon Roi et mon Pais [ My God, My King, My County ].

I will also be adding records on the Kirwan / Carawan family of early Dorchester County, Maryland. The earliest information on the Kirwan family in Maryland comes from page 375 of the New Revised History of Dorchester County, Maryland, by Elias Jones. The original History was published in 1902.


"The first settlers of the family of Kirwans who came to Maryland about 1650 were three brothers, John, Thomas and David, who came from England and first located in Somerset County, near Dame's Quarter. A short time thereafter, John .... came over to Dorchester (County) and settled near Pritchett's Crossroads, in that part of the county now called Lakes District. He had several sons, Peter, John and Thomas. Descendants of John and Thomas now live in Lakes (District).

Anyone having additional information or links to the early Kirwan family in Ireland or the American colonies (1600's to late 1700's), please contact me, John McGowan. Thanks.


A Manuscript History of the Kirwan Family - Part 1 (by Morgan O'Doherty)

A Manuscript History of the Kirwan Family - Part 2 (by Morgan O'Doherty)

Irish Pedigrees, or The Origin and Stem of The Irish Nation (by John O'Hart)

The History of Galway (by James Hardiman)

Cregg Castle (County Galway, Ireland)


1716 Will of Matthew Kirwan / Carawan

1745 Estate Records of John Carawan, Dorchester Co., Maryland

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.


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