Howie History

Albigenses Trial

Albigenses Trial

History of the Howie Family

The surname HOWIE was derived from the Old German HUGHLIN, a diminutive of Hugo. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and HUGELINUS appears to be the first of the name on record. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. A constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arrived in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conquerer (known as the Domesday Book).

The French version of Howie was Huie. The Scottish Howie’s supposedly descended from three Huie brothers who were Albigenses (aka Albigensians^) from the Langduedoc Region of France who emigrated in the 12th century to Ayrshire.  One settled at Lochgoin, one in Craigie and one in Newton Mearns. Most Howies are believed to be descended from these three brothers.

“When Prince David, later to become King David, was granted the lands of Strathclyde in the 12th century, he invited the Normans, who he considered to be more gentlemanly, to occupy parts of it. It is believed that three Huie brothers took advantage of his offer.”

Our family of Howie (sometimes Howey or Howe) reveals a Scottish locational name deriving from an estate known as ‘the lands of How,’ in County Ayrshire. Some claim that it originates from the Ancient British-Strathclyde ‘hoh’, a word which pre-dates written history, describing a hollow or deep valley, from which also developed the surname How or Howe. Howie or Howey is a diminutive meaning Little How, the suffix ‘ie’ or ‘y’ being a popular Scottish and North of England addition. Early examples of the surname include John Howy, a servant of the Earl of Cassilis, who in 1526 was accused of murder but was reprieved In 1590 Robert Howie was recorded as being the Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, while in 1625 Archibald Howey was elected a burgess of Glasgow. John Howie (1736-1793) wrote the standard work called The Scots Worthies in 1774. The Ayrshire Howies have traditionally claimed descent from Flemish weavers, who escaped persecution in their homelands. The first recorded spelling of the name is William Howye, dated 1526, when he was appointed Sergeant at Arms of the town of Brechin, during the reign of King James V of Scotland (1513–1542).

Grace Howie Death

Grace Howie Death

Richard Labin, Sr. was the only child of 1a.Thomas Lewis Labin (1867-1951) and 1.Grace Howie (b. 26 Aug 1870 in Braehead#, Western District of Old Monkland, Lanarkshire, Scotland; d. 17 July 1944 in Uniontown, Fayette County, PA).  She and her family appear in the 1881 Scotland census living at 44 Thornwood Row, Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland, and she and her parents arrived at Philadelphia, PA 22 June 1882 on board the SS Lord Clive (with Captain Patrick Urquhart), sailing from Glasgow by way of Liverpool.


SS Lord Clive & Gough

Capt. Urquhart of Lord Clive

Capt. Urquhart of Lord Clive

The Howie's on Lord Clive

The Howie’s on Lord Clive

The SS Lord Clive was built in 1871 in Liverpool, England, weighed over 3,000 tons gross and sailed between UK and Philadelphia 3-6 times a year, its best speed averaging 7 days, 4 hours to steam to the US. Grace married my great-grandfather Thomas Lewis Labin 11 Sept 1890 in Cumberland, Allegheny Co, MD in the Emmanuel Church; they lived in S. Huntington Township, Westmoreland Co, PA, then Springhill, Fayette Co, PA. Both are buried at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Pt. Marion, PA (as are Richard Labin, Sr. and Ruby Moore Labin, my father’s parents). Her older sister, Janet, married Thomas’ older brother Alexander.

Grace Howie’s parents were 2a.Mary Pope (1818-1883) and 2. Robert Howie (b. 1830 in Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland; d. after 1883 in Snow Shoe, Centre Co, PA. Like many in our family, Robert Howie was a collier (British term for coal miner) and according to his marriage license (23 March 1851 in Old Monkland), he was illiterate. After arriving in the US, Robert petitioned for US Naturalization; in those days, his wife was ‘carried along’ on his citizenship. Similarly, when Thomas Lewis Labin became a citizen 5 years after arrival, wife Grace Howie did not have to apply in her own name.

Robert Howie Naturalization

Robert Howie Naturalization

Robert Howie’s parents were 3a. Margaret S. Harper (1794-1880) and 3. Robert Howie (b. 7 March 1794 in Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland; d. after 1861 in Scotland?). He was a coal grieve* and married Margaret 10 June 1815 in Riccarton and they lived in Ayrshire, Scotland throughout their lives. Robert Howie (Sr.)’s parents were 4a. Janet Paton (1773-1851) and 4. William Howie (b. 22 July 1762 in Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland; d. aft 1807 in Riccarton). William and Janet were married 14 June 1793. William’s parents were 5a. Jean Gilbert (1733-1783) and 5. William Howie (b. 11 May 1731 in Riccarton, ; died after 1783); William, Sr. and Jean were married 21 Aug 1761. He was the son of 6a. Jean Whyte (1705-1731) and 6. James Howie (b. 16 Dec 1701 in Riccarton; d. 29 Jan 1755; married 21 Sug 1718). James was the son of 7a. Martha Thomson (1681-1703) and 7. James Howie (b. 1677 in Riccarton; d. 29 Jan 1755 in Parroch, Ayrshire, Scotland). James Howie was the son of 8a. Isabel Howie (1630-1677) and 8. James Howie (b. 1620 in Dundee, Angus or Parroch, Ayrshire, Scotland; d. 14 Nov 1691 in Parroch). James was the son of 9. John Howie (b. 1586 in Ceres, Fife, Scotland; d. 1666 in Ceres). John’s father was also 10. John Howie (b. abt. 1560 in Ceres; d. 1614 in Ceres). John Howie’s parents were 11a. Eupham (Euphemia) Galloway (1530-1560) and 11. John Howie (b. abt 1530 in Scotland; d. 26 Oct 1610 in Estir Glentoir, Scotland). That is as far back as I’ve been able to take the Howie branch of the family, to my 11th great grandfather.

^Albigensians  were a sect of Cathars who called themselves the ‘Good Men,’ identifying the good God, the Creator of the spiritual world (Invisible), as the God of the New Testament and the bad God or Satan, the creator of the material world (Visible), as the God of the Old Testament. The Catholic Church attempted to silence these Christians, who also believed that women were as capable as men to serve as spiritual leaders and gave as much prominence to Mary Magdalen as to Jesus. They abhorred killing, wars, sex and marriage, and all animal meat. They thought that Christ’s Resurrection was in line with the Buddhist idea of reincarnation, that souls are reincarnated over and over until the soul is worthy to be returned to heaven. The church fought the Cathars, imprisoning them, torturing them, and finally burned them alive. The sect was annihilated, except for small splinter groups of Hussites, Lollards, or Moravians.

#Braehead, Old Monkland, Lanarkshire–Braehead, a collier village containing Kirkwood Colliery in Old Monkland parish, Lanarkshire. Population in 1871 was 491, in 1881 it was 667. (Frances Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1882-4; © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland.

*a coal grieve is a coal-mine foreman or supervisor




© Copyright 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD (except as noted)