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

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?

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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.


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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  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. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  9. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  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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