Irvan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Strathclyde-Briton people of ancient Scotland were the first to use the name Irvan. The Irvan family lived in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or from Irvine in Strathclyde. There are a variety of possible origins of the name and we will explore some of them here. One source claims the name was a "descendant of Erewine (sea friend); or one who came from Irvine (green river), in Ayrshire. " [1] Another postulates the name was from "Mac Heremon, 'Here- mon's Son.' Heremon was the seventh in descent from Milesius, and became monarch of all Ireland. [2] And another believes that Irwin was "the Irish form of Irvine. The singular Christian name Crinus, which prevails in the family of I. of Tanragoe, co. Sligo, is traditionally derived from Krynin Abethnas, the second husband of the mother of Duncan, King of Scotland." [3]

Early Origins of the Irvan family

The surname Irvan was first found in Ayrshire, at Irvine, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, about 26 miles (W. S. W.) from Glasgow.

"[Irvine] derives its name from the river on which it is situated, and appears to have attained a high degree of importance at a very early period. The inhabitants obtained from Alexander II. a charter conferring upon the town all the privileges of a royal burgh; and a charter confirming all previous grants was subsequently given to them by Robert Bruce, in recompense of their services during his wars with England in the reign of Edward I." [4]

Alternatively, the name was "from Irving, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire, There are many Irvings (or Irvines as most of the Dumfriesshire families spell the name) here." [5]

According to family lore, they descend from Duncan "the first of Eryvine," killed at the battle of Duncrub in 965. As far as records are concerned, the earliest listed was William de Irwin, an armor bearer to King Robert the Bruce. He received a grant of lands encompassing the Forest of Drum, on the banks of the River Irvine. And it was here that he had Drum Castle built which would become the family seat of the Clan for centuries. The river originally was named Lar Avon, or West River.

Robert de Hirvine, ancestor of that previous William was mentioned in a Charter dated 1226 and he was at that time tenant of the Douglas Clan. From 1331-33 the family received further grants of land and by 1400 had become a very predominant family. The Chief of the Irvines lead his Clansmen in the Battle of Harlaw in 1511. Sir Alexander Irvine was slain there, and it was said of him: 'Gude Sir Alexander Irvine, The much renowned Laird of Drum.'

"Washington Irving (1783-1859), the American author, was son of William Irving, a native of Shapinsay, Orkney." [5]

Early History of the Irvan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Irvan research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1324, 1331, 1332, 1411, 1602, 1587, 1323, 1976, 1411, 1752, 1759, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1455, 1638, 1685, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Irvan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Irvan Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Irvan has been spelled Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.

Early Notables of the Irvan family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Adam Irvine, Burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from Aberdeenshire. Christopher Irvine ( fl. 1638-1685), was a Scottish physician, philologist, and antiquary, a younger son of Christopher Irvine of Robgill Tower, Annandale, and barrister...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Irvan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Irvan family to Ireland

Some of the Irvan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 144 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Irvan family

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them: Andrew Ervin, a boy of 16; landed in Barbados in 1684. Over the next two hundred years the Irving name was to settle mainly in the state of Pennsylvania. William Irwin settled in Virginia in 1642.


Contemporary Notables of the name Irvan (post 1700) +

  • Ernie Irvan (b. 1959), American actor, known for 1996 Daytona 500 (1996), Racin' for a Livin' (2006) and Late Night with David Letterman (1982)
  • Virgil Earnest "Ernie" Irvan (b. 1959), American former NASCAR race driver, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers
  • Mark Irvan Choate FRHistS, American history professor at Brigham Young University


The Irvan Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Candide et constanter
Motto Translation: Fairly and firmly.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Moore, A.W., Manx Names. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1906. Print
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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