1. Any person named McGovern living today would only have an average of about 25 direct lineal male ancestors named McGovern. The average is three per century with a gap of about 33 years between each generation. The accuracy of this general rule usually works out quite well, as in e.g. the pedigree shown below of the parish priest of Templeport, Father Philip Magauran (born in 1772; died in 1855) who was a direct lineal descendant of the last McGovern chief. Their own birth date, therefore, should tell any researcher which generation of descent they lie in. For example Bishop James Magauran of Ardagh Diocese was born in 1769 so he would lie in about the 20th generation of descent. This fact is encouraging to any McGovern researching their ancestry as they would already know at least 3 or 4 direct male ancestors (father, grandfather etc.) which leaves only about 21 or less to go.
26th generation= born c. 1980 25th generation= born c.1945 24th generation= born c. 1910 23rd generation= born c. 1870 22nd generation= born c. 1840 21st generation= born c. 1810 20th generation= Father Philip Magauran of Templeport born 10th February 1772 (son or nephew of Maj. Edward) 19th generation= Major Edward McGovern born 16th April 1746 18th generation= Father of Major Edward born c. 1685 17th generation= Colonel Bryan born c. 1650 (grandfather of Major Edward) 16th generation= Cathal born c. 1615 15th generation= Brian born 1592 14th generation= Felim c. 1550 13th generation= Brian born c. 1515 12th generation= Tomas born c. 1480 11th generation= Maghnus born c. 1445 10th generation= Tomas Og born c. 1410 9th generation= Tomas Og na Feasoige born c. 1370 8th generation= Fearghal born c. 1333 7th generation= Tomas born c. 1300 6th generation= Brian Breaghach born c. 1266 5th generation= Donnchadh Cime born c. 1233 4th generation= Giolla na Naomh born c. 1200 3rd generation= Giolla Iosa born c. 1166 2nd generation= Giolla na Naomh born c. 1133 1st generation= Muireadhach Mág Samhradháin born c.1100 probably in Glangevlin, County Cavan. He was the first chief to bear the name Mág Samhradháin or McGovern)
2. In 1891 the number of males bearing the McGovern surname in Ireland was roughly 2,500, which was about 0.053% of the total Irish population. Assuming this percentage holds roughly true in preceding years, then if you extrapolate backwards the following table shows the number of McGovern males living at any given period in Irish history. Furthermore if you assume an average of four males in a family (i.e. Father plus three sons) then you can work out the approximate number of McGovern families existing at any date.
Year/Irish Population/Male McGoverns/Number of McGovern families
So at any given time before 1700 there were only a couple of hundred McGovern families in existence, which again makes it easier to track their descendants.
3. The McGovern clan has a useful amount of genealogy surviving from it's origin up to the 1650's, so if you can get back as far as this point the research becomes much easier, instead of more difficult as often happens with a lot of Gaelic surnames. I have worked out the genealogy of nearly every McGovern from 1100 up to 1650 so if you need any info up to that point fell free to message me, but not anything after that date. 4. Recent advances in DNA research add another weapon to the researcher’s armoury. All McGoverns should fall into the Haplogroup R1b1c7. As more and more McGoverns have their DNA tested, relationships will begin to appear which can then be plotted on the above generational chart to give a more exact date for ancestors.