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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The many generations and branches of the Carver family can all place the origins of their surname with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name reveals that an early member worked as a wood-carver or sculptor. The former occupation was more common than the latter. Chaucer describes a wood-carver in the late 13th century "Knight's Tale", writing, "Ne purteyour, ne kerver of images." The surname Carver is derived from the Old English word ceorfan, which means to cut or to carve. However, the surname Carver may also be derived from the occupation of a ploughman. In this case, the surname Carver is derived from the Old French words charuier and caruier, which both mean ploughman.


The surname Carver was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Carver were recorded, including Carver, Carvere, Carvar, Carever, Carber and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carver research. Another 273 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1203, 1275, 1290, 1505, 1576, 1621, 1710, and 1780 are included under the topic Early Carver History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carver Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Carver family emigrate to North America:

Carver Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Carver arrived in Plymouth in 1620 with wife and servant, on the "Mayflower" (they would become one of the distinguished families of the US), their history can be found in Burke's
  • Catharine Carver, who arrived in America in 1620
  • Catherine Carver, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
  • Grace Carver settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1637
  • Richard Carver, who had sailed from Yarmouth in England in 1637 who had lived at Scratby, in Norfolk, in England. He settled in Watertown in Massachusetts
  • ...

Carver Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Ralph Carver, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Nicholas Carver, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1729
  • Jacob Carver, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760

Carver Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Agner Carver, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Agnes Carver, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Michael Carver, aged 40, landed in America in 1822
  • Patrick Carver, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • James Carver, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1873

Carver Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Edward Carver, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Caleb Carver U.E born in Massachusetts, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1778

Carver Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • George Carver, aged 56, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emigrant"

Carver Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • W.R. Carver arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ambrosine" in 1858

  • Raymond Carver (1938-1988), American short story writer and poet
  • Jeffrey Carver (b. 1949), American science fiction author
  • George Washington Carver (1864-1943), American botanist and inventor
  • Jesse Carver (b. 1911), English football player and club manager
  • Field Marshal Richard Michael Power Carver GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC (1915-2001), Baron Carver, Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom
  • Robert Carver (b. 1974), British sailing world champion
  • Robert Carver (1490-1567), Scottish Renaissance monk and composer of Christian sacred music

Carver Historic Events

Halifax Explosion

  • Mr. William  Carver (1869-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Alfred John Carver (d. 1912), aged 28, English Third Class passenger from Southampton, Hampshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking

  • Carver Family, 1769-1977 by John Bradley Arthaud.
  • Genealogy of the Rev. Eleazer Carver Family by Fred E. and Margaret R. Carver.

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    Other References

    1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
    6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    7. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
    8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
    9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    11. ...

    The Carver Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Carver Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 8 March 2015 at 00:31.

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