Show ContentsGivens History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Givens is derived from the name Gibb, a short form of the Norman personal name Gilbert. This name was originally derived from the name Gislebert, which is comprised of the Germanic elements "gisil," which means "hostage" or "noble youth," and "berht," which means "bright" or "famous." The name features the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix "fitz," which means "son of" in Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately comes from the Latin word "filius," both of which mean "son." The Gaelic form of the surname Givens is Mac Giobúin.

Early Origins of the Givens family

The surname Givens was first found in counties of Mayo and Limerick, where two distinct families arose shortly after Strongbow invasion of Ireland in 1172. The majority of the family hails from Mayo and were a branch of the great Burke family.

They were originally known as MacGibbon Burke. They gave their name to Ballymacgibbon in County Mayo. The Limerick FitzGibbon families are descended from John Fitzgerald, whose three sons became hereditary knights of Desmond in 1333.

Two branches of this family, known respectively as the knights of Glin and the knights of Kerry, remained Fitzgeralds. However, the third branch became known by the surname Fitzgibbon and was led by the White Knight, Maurice FitzGibbon, son of Sir Gilbert fitz John, eldest illegitimate son of John FitzGerald, 1st Baron Desmond. The territory of this branch lay in the southeastern corner of Limerick near County Cork. [1]

Early History of the Givens family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Givens research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1357, 1569, 1575, 1419, 1496, 1530, 1543, 1569, 1569, 1552, 1608 and 1596 are included under the topic Early Givens History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Givens Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Givens that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: Fitzgibbon, Fitzgibbons, MacGibbon, Gibbon, Gibbons, Gibben, Gibbens, Gibbin, Gibbins and many more.

Early Notables of the Givens family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Maurice Fitzgibbon, 1st White Knight (d. 1357), second son of John Oge Fitzgerald, alias Fitzgibbon (d. 1569), and Ellen, daughter of Patrick Condon, lord of Condons, accompanied James Fitzmaurice to France in March 1575, returning in July. [2] David Fitzgibbon, was the 2nd White Knight; John Fitzgibbon, 3rd White Knight; Maurice Fitzgibbon, 4th White Knight...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Givens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Givens Ranking

In the United States, the name Givens is the 1,326th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [3]

United States Givens migration to the United States +

A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Givens:

Givens Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Givens, who landed in Augusta County, Va in 1739 [4]
Givens Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Givens, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1850 [4]
  • Robert Givens, who arrived in Alabama in 1858 [4]
  • D. B. Givens, aged 30, who settled in America from London, in 1892
  • R. Givens, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Dublin, in 1892
  • N. R. Givens, aged 16, who landed in America, in 1892
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Givens Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mary Givens, aged 30, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1902
  • Carl Givens, aged 23, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Frank Givens, aged 54, who landed in America, in 1912
  • Rose Givens, aged 19, who landed in America from Glenties, Ireland, in 1916
  • Bridget Givens, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States from Glenties, Ireland, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Givens migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Givens Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Virginia T. Givens, aged 47, who immigrated to Kingston, Canada, in 1912

Australia Givens migration to Australia +

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

Givens Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Givens, English convict who was convicted in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 9th Mary 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [5]

New Zealand Givens 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:

Givens Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Millie Givens, aged 23, a cook, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Givens (post 1700) +

  • Robert "Bob" Givens (1918-2017), American animator, character designer, and layout artist, known for his work with Disney, Warner Bros. Cartoons, Hanna-Barbera, and DePatie–Freleng Enterprises
  • Edward Galen "Ed" Givens Jr. (1930-1967), United States Air Force officer and NASA Astronaut, member of the 'Original 19' group [7]
  • Willard Earl Givens (1886-1971), American educator, executive secretary of the National Education Association (1935 to 1952)
  • Chris Givens (b. 1989), American NFL football wide receiver
  • Larry Givens (b. 1960), retired American heavyweight boxer
  • John Givens (d. 1967), American former basketball player and coach, Kentucky Colonels Head Basketball Coaches (1967)
  • Jack "Goose" Givens (b. 1956), retired American collegiate and professional basketball player
  • Wallace Givens (1910-1993), American mathematician, retired professor emeritus at Northwestern University
  • Reggie Givens (b. 1971), American former NFL and CFL football player, recipient of three consecutive Grey Cup rings
  • David Givens (b. 1980), American former NFL football player for the New England Patriots [8]
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Gary Lynn Givens (1960-1985), American Sergeant from Clarksville, Tennessee, USA who died in the Arrow Air Flight 1285 crash [9]
HMS Halsted
  • Mr. William Layburn Givens (b. 1925), Scottish Royal Navy able seaman from Glasgow, Scotland was stationed aboard the "HMS Halsted" when it was struck by torpedo by Jaguar and Mowe of the Cherbourg coast on 11th June 1944, he did not survive
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Harold Reuben Givens, American Yeoman Third Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [10]

Suggested Readings for the name Givens +

  • Givens, Allen, Spawn, Roseberry, and Calhoon Families of Northern Missouri by Brenda E. Givens.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 26th September 2022).
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th November 2011). Retrieved from
  7. NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Edward Givens. Retrieved from
  8. David Givens. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) David Givens. Retrieved from
  9. American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from
  10. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook