Show ContentsCalvin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Calvin is an ancient Anglo-Saxon surname that came from the baptismal name Calvin. This surname contains roots in both French and English origin. In some cases, this surname was also used as a nickname to mean someone who is bald.

Early Origins of the Calvin family

The surname Calvin was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early History of the Calvin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Calvin research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1040, 1066 and 1086 are included under the topic Early Calvin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Calvin Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore,spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Calvin has been recorded under many different variations, including Colvin, Colvinne, Calvin and others.

Early Notables of the Calvin family

More information is included under the topic Early Calvin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Calvin Ranking

In the United States, the name Calvin is the 3,490th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Calvin family to Ireland

Some of the Calvin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Calvin migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Calvin or a variant listed above:

Calvin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Francis Calvin, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Fra Calvin, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [2]
Calvin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Calvin, who settled in Georgia in 1734
Calvin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Calvin, who settled in New York in 1811
  • Thomas Calvin, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [2]
  • Nancy Calvin, who settled in Boston in 1820
  • Nancy Calvin, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1820
  • Danby Calvin, who settled in Vermont
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Calvin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Calvin Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Christo Calvin, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Calvin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Mary Calvin, aged 6 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Mail" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Calvin (post 1700) +

  • William H. Calvin Ph.D., (b. 1939), American theoretical neurophysiologist and professor at the University of Washington
  • Thomas "Tom" Marvin Calvin (b. 1926), former American NFL football halfback from Athens, Alabama
  • Samuel Calvin (1840-1911), American systematic geologist from Iowa
  • Samuel Calvin (1811-1890), American politician, Whig member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania (1849 to 1851)
  • Melvin Ellis Calvin (1911-1997), American chemist who discovered the Calvin cycle for which he received the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Kathryn Bushkin Calvin (b. 1949), American chief executive officer of the United Nations Foundation
  • Henry Calvin (1918-1975), American comic actor, best known for his role as Sergeant Garcia on the television series Zorro (1957–1959)
  • Wyn Calvin MBE OStJ, (1926-2022), stage name of Joseph Wyndham Calvin Thomas, Welsh comedian and entertainer often referred to as the "Clown Prince of Wales" and "The Welsh Prince of Laughter"
  • President John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (b. 1972), American politician, thirtieth President of the United States (1923–1929)
  • Phillip Calvin McGraw (b. 1950), best known as Dr. Phil, an American television personality, psychologist and author

The Calvin Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In hoc signo vinces
Motto Translation: Under this sign thou shall conquer.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 17) on Facebook