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Ewing Family Association.
ORIGIN OF THE EWING NAME
The information included here is taken from Chapter IX of Clan Ewing in Scotland, by Elbert William Robinson Ewing and the 1991 Scotland Research Report for Clan Ewing in America.
First from E.W.R. Ewing:
This story of our clan origin considered in connection with the Gaelic
Highland records, is all the light we have regarding the origin of our
family name. That evidence leads to the conclusion that the name of the
Glasgow-Loch Lomond Ewing clan, or family from which the Ewings here considered
descended, is the Cymric Lowland origin. It is clear, in my [E. W. R. Ewing]
opinion, that those who hold to the Gaelic origin overlook the Cymric evidence,
certainly as to our family, it is worth repeating for emphasis. Of course
it must not be forgotten that, as has been said, there are Ewings who are
*Scotch or Scotch ancestry who are not descended from our ancient Scotch
ancestors. For them, certainly, I do not attempt to speak.
In 1919 a very intelligent genealogist of the Hon. Thomas Ewing family gave the following:
My Ewing line is from Scotland by way of Ireland. The name is, in the case of my line (and I think likely in that of all Ewings) from the Gaelic "EOGHAN" (the 'GH' is a 'H' in sound, as in Meagher, sounded Maher; Daugherty sounded Doherty, &c.), spelt phonetically EUEN, EWEN, EWIN, EWAN, YOUEN, &c. The "g" in Ewing was an addition made in the spelling of the name by those of English speech, if not race. This because in pronouncing the name they give the final "n" a "ng" or nasal sound. Thus did they with Waring from Warin, Huling from Hulin, &c.
This, it is very clear to me, is a representative error as to descent of the Hon. Thomas Ewing branch; and as he belonged to our family, it is error as to the rest of those of whom I write. While, as has been said, some of the descendants of the Gaelic Eoghan ancestors either through the McEwen of Otter or otherwise, may now be known as Ewings, yet the history of the Cymric Ewing ancestors proves that the greater number of Ewings are of the Lowland origin and from that source brought with them the name. This, I am firmly convinced, is true of many of the Ewings of the western portions of Scotland, whose ancestors at a very early day drifted out from the Cymric family in the Glasgow Lomond community, as it is of our Glasgow-Lomond ancestors.
Spooner, who has given us an extensive study of the historic families of America, we again may notice in this connection, says:
Of Celtic derivation, the surname Ewing is found at an early neighborhood of Loch Lomond . . . It is found associated as tribal surname with the Colquhouns, usually written Calhoun in the United States. An English writer on surnames puts it among the earliest Saxon names ending in -ing, as Harding, Browning, etc. It may be of Danish rather than Saxon origin, as it is still common in Norway, one of the recruiting grounds of the so-called Danes of early English history, and especially as its early location was in the western part of Scotland, which was long subject to the raids of the Danish sea-kings.
McEwen, the Scotch genealogist of the McEwens, says:
Eugenius may be a Latin equivalent of Ewen; but it is, as we have seen, at least a fact that in the Latin list of the Gaelic Kings the spelling Ewen is used.
But the great trouble with the effort to link all Ewings with the Gaelic origin of a name similar to ours, is that about the time of the Gaelic Kings of the Ewen name and long before the name in the Highlands distinguished any family or clan, the name existed in the Lowland Cymric country and was borne by those of the Cymric stock. Borne by those of that Lowland stock, the name existed hundreds of years before the coming of the Danes. Since it was the custom of the invading Teutons, including the Danes, "to adopt the name of the Celtic tribe they displaced," as Shane (Origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race, 302) and other authorities tell us, if the name be common in the European home of the Danes, it is not at all impossible that it was carried there from Scotland.
McEwen, unable to explain some facts which appear not to have been fully investigated, qualified somewhat his all too sweeping conclusion, by adding:
The name is distinctly of Gaelic and clan origin, and except where particular family histories and other evidence point to a different conclusion, persons bearing the name and traceable to the localities known to have been occupied by the early clan, its septs and descendants, are of the same race and probably sprung from the McEwens of Otter. In the Lowland districts the blood has mixed largely with that of the Lowland inhabitants.