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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish


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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.

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


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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.

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

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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"

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  • Matthew Canavan, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 8th District, 1867-69
  • John A. Canavan, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, 1938-39
  • Edward V. Canavan, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1932
  • Edward J. Canavan, American politician, Candidate for borough President of Bronx, New York, 1965
  • Dennis A. Canavan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1956 (alternate), 1960
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Peter Canavan (b. 1971), Irish Gaelic Football player and manager who won two All- Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and six All Stars Awards

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  6. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  7. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. 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 10 November 2015 at 05:53.

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