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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

Where did the Irish Canavan family come from? What is the Irish Canavan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Canavan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Canavan family history?


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

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Canavan research. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Canavan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


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
  • Thomas Canavan, who landed in Mississippi in 1838
  • Patrick Canavan, aged 24, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1848
  • Biddy Canavan, aged 16, arrived in New York, NY in 1849
  • Biddy Canavan, who settled in New York in 1849

Canavan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Stephen Canavan, aged 24, a carpenter, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway
  • Edward Canavan, who came to Ontario in 1871

Canavan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Jeremiah Canavan, aged 23, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Tantivy"


  • 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
  • Earle Samuel Canavan (b. 1937), American racing driver
  • Peter Canavan (b. 1971), Irish Gaelic Football player and manager who won two All- Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and six All Stars Awards
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dennis Canavan (b. 1942), Scottish politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West (1999-2007)
  • Katherine Canavan, current United States Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana
  • Trudi Canavan (b. 1969), Australian writer of fantasy novels, known for her best-selling fantasy trilogies The Black Magician trilogy and Age of the Five
  • Chris Canavan (1929-2013), British television and stage actor, best known for his recurring roles on the British soap opera, Coronation Street, for more than fifty years
  • Niall David Stephen Canavan (b. 1991), English footballer


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Canavan Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee MugCanavan Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee Mug
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Canavan Framed Surname History and Coat of ArmsCanavan Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms
More Family Crest Products


  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  9. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  11. ...

The Canavan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Canavan 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 23 July 2014 at 11:14.

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