McKeown and MacKeown are Irish surnames originating both from the Irish Mac Eoghain ("Son of Eoghan") and Mac Eoin ("Son of Eoin"), which are pronounced identically: /mək ˈow ən/ or "McOwen". The surnames are associated with the Mac Eoin Bissett family. A family who arrived in the Irish Glens of Antrim in the 13th century AD with John Bissett. The family settled in the region with other Anglo-Norman families, marrying into local Gaelic families, adopting the Gaelic culture, laws, language and finding themselves totally assimilated into Irish life.

It has been suggested that within Northern Ireland's borders there are McKeowns that have a totally separate historical lineage, immigrating to Ireland with Ulster-Scotch planters, settling there during the great plantations.

This claim is difficult to substantiate, due to poor church or state records during the plantation period.

However, the lack of frequency of the name "McKeown" (and its variants) within earlier Scottish census records does not appear to suggest any evidence of a separate Scottish planter family.

There are at least three common ways to pronounce the name. The name is commonly pronounced "Mick-Yone" within Ireland itself, however across the globe a whole range of slightly different pronunciations can now be found.

  • /mɪk ˈjoʊn/ "Mick Yone"
  • /mə ˈkjuən/ "Mick You-En"
  • /mə ˈkiən/ "Mick Key-En"


See also

This page lists people with the surname McKeown.
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