Canavan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Canavan family

The surname Canavan was first found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat as hereditary physicians to the O'Flahertys. Traditionally, this great sept is descended through the Fihillys from Muredach Maolleathan the 16th Christian King of Connacht. Irish history was greatly influenced by the Norman invasion of 1172, and thereafter, the surnames of Irish Gaelic clanns and septs and many of the Norman families became almost indistinguishable.

Early History of the Canavan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Canavan research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Canavan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Canavan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Canavan, O'Canavan, Canaman, Kinevan, Kinavan, Kanavan, O'Kennevain and many more.

Early Notables of the Canavan family (pre 1700)

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

Canavan Ranking

In the United States, the name Canavan is the 15,250th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]


United States Canavan migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Canavan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael Canavan, who arrived in America in 1800 [2]
  • Thomas Canavan, who landed in Mississippi in 1838 [2]
  • Patrick Canavan, aged 24, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1848 [2]
  • Biddy Canavan, aged 16, who arrived in New York, NY in 1849 [2]
  • Biddy Canavan, who settled in New York in 1849
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Canavan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Canavan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Canavan, aged 24, a carpenter, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway, Ireland
  • Edward Canavan, who settled in Ontario in 1871

Australia Canavan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Canavan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Canavan, (b. 1806), aged 26, Irish ploughman who was convicted in County Tyrone, Ireland for life for stealing, transported aboard the "City of Edinburgh II" on 18th March 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Mr. Daniel Canavan, (b. 1810), aged 22, Irish labourer who was convicted in County Tyrone, Ireland for life for stealing, transported aboard the "City of Edinburgh II" on 18th March 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Miss Sarah Canavan, English convict who was convicted in Clerkenwell, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th November 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Jeremiah Canavan, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Tantivy"

New Zealand Canavan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Canavan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary A. Canavan, (b. 1842), aged 21, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [5]
  • Mr. George Canavan, (b. 1845), aged 25, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd December 1870 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Canavan (post 1700) +

  • Earle Samuel Canavan (b. 1937), American racing driver
  • Myrtelle May Moore Canavan (1879-1953), American physician and medical researcher, one of the first female pathologists, best known for identifying Canavan disease in 1931
  • Matthew Canavan, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 8th District, 1867-69 [7]
  • John A. Canavan, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, 1938-39 [7]
  • Edward V. Canavan, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1932 [7]
  • Edward J. Canavan, American politician, Candidate for borough President of Bronx, New York, 1965 [7]
  • Dennis A. Canavan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1956 (alternate), 1960 [7]
  • Peter Canavan (b. 1971), Irish Gaelic Football player and manager who won two All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and six All Stars Awards
  • Katherine Canavan, American diplomat, current United States Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana
  • Niall David Stephen Canavan (b. 1991), English footballer
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Miss Mary Canavan (d. 1912), aged 22, Irish Third Class passenger from Tonacrick, Clare who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]
  • Mr. Patrick "Peter" Canavan (d. 1912), aged 21, Irish Third Class passenger from Knockmaria, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 11th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/city-of-edinburgh)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duchess-of-northumberland
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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