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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"


  • 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
  • Niall David Stephen Canavan (b. 1991), English footballer
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  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 19 August 2015 at 21:21.

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