|About The Ewens of Monymusk
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Ewen is a male given name, most common throughout Scotland and Canada, due to the influence of Scots in that country. It is a derivative of the Pictish name, Vuen (or 'Wen'), which is the Pictish British cognate of Eoghan in Gaelic. It is also, less commonly, a surname. It is said to mean "born of the yew (tree)" and is also associated loosely with the Scottish god of the glen. In Gaelic etymology, Euan implies a plethoric (red-faced) individual. In this family tree the main line of descent is the Ewen family (from Monymusk, Aberdeenshire) but it also includes significant distaff lines for the MacSweens (of Scalpay, Harris), the Campbells (of Harris), the Thomsons (from Migvie, Aberdeenshire), and the Archibalds (from Tough, Aberdeenshire). From very humble beginnings as weavers and landless farm labourers the Ewen family lived and worked in the area around Monymusk village in Aberdeenshire for 150 years before starting to spread out across the world. Those Ewens who stayed in Scotland are now widely scattered across the country but it is possible to identify some family groups based on their geographical location. Each of these groups originate from a single individual who moved to a new place to start the new family branch: The Garioch Ewens originate from Robert Ewen (B. 1828 in Aberdeen) The Perthshire Ewens originate from James Ritchie Ewen (B.1853 at Midtrath, Birse) The Deeside Ewens originate from Alexander Ewen (B. 1856 at Midtrath, Birse) The Aberdeen Ewens originate from Robert Ewen (B. 1858 at Midstrath, Birse) The Speyside Ewens originate from John Ewen (B.1868 at Westertown, Kincardine O’Neil) The Banchory Ewens originate from David Ewen (B.1872 at Westertown, Kincardine O’Neil) There are now established branches of the Ewen family in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and we know of individuals who have gone to South Africa and the USA but we do not know if they established new branches of the family in these countries. The identified groups are: The South Australian Ewens originate from Alexander Ewen (B. 1826 in Midmar) The West Australian Ewens originate from William Ewen (B. 1860 at Midstrath, Birse) There are 4 separate branches of the Ewen family in Canada, * the Ontario Ewens originate from Gordon Michie Ewen (B.1825 in Aberdeen, Scotland) and Margaret Ewen (B. 1836 in Cluny Parish) * the Alberta Ewens originate from James Armstrong Ewen (B.1886 in Perth, Scotland) * the Saskatchewan Ewens originate from Grace Smith Ewen (B.1893 in Keith, Scotland) and James Alwyn Ewen (B.1901 in Elgin, Scotland) * the Edmonton Ewens originate from William Alexander Thomson (B.1902 in Dunottar, Scotland) There are 4 separate branches of the Ewen family in New Zealand: * the Dunedin Ewens originate from George Dickson (B.1847 in Skene Parish, Scotland) * the Hamilton Ewens originate from Andrew Low Thomson (B.1906 in Cupar, Scotland) and James Low Thomson (B. 1901 in Logierait) * the Wellington Ewens originate from Robert Donald (B.1811 in Monymusk, Scotland) * the New Zealand Ewens originate from John Forbes Ewen (B. 1904 in Leochil-Cushnie, Scotland) When trying to understand what caused Scots people to emigrate, the best known reason is the clearance of Highlanders to make way for sheep, which started about 1720 (after the first Jacobite uprising) and continued to a peak in 1810 - 1820. However the Lowlands were similarly affected because in the 1700s improvements in agricultural practice led to the old run-rig system of agriculture being replaced by larger farms with enclosed fields, longer leases and higher rents which many people could not afford. This created a large class of landless people who could either work as labourers for the new tenant farmers, work in forestry or in the quarries, or leave to work in factories in the cities, or emigrate. So the population of the whole of rural Scotland, both highland and lowland was already decreasing when the Highland Potato Famine arrived in the 1840s. While the mortality rate was less than other Scottish famines in the 1690s, and 1780, the Highland potato famine caused many people to leave Scotland during the period 1846–52. The clearest examples of this in our family tree are: * Alexander Ewen born in 1826 in Midmar Parish who emigrated to Australia in 1848 where he married Mary Parsons and together they raised a family of 14 children at Encounter Bay south of Adelaide. * Gordon Michie Ewen who emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1855 with his wife and 5 young children