Show ContentsIrvin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was in the Scottish/English Borderlands that the Strathclyde-Briton people first used the ancient name Irvin. It was a name for someone who 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 source 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 Irvin family

The surname Irvin 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 voice of tradition, the family descend from Duncan "the first of Eryvine," killed at the battle of Duncrub in 965. Other records show 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.' [5]

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

Early History of the Irvin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Irvin research. Another 263 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1324, 1331, 1332, 1411, 1602, 1587, 1323, 1976, 1411, 1752, 1759, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1455, 1658, 1411 and are included under the topic Early Irvin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Irvin Spelling Variations

Surnames that evolved in Scotland in the Middle Ages often appear under many spelling variations. These are due to the practice of spelling according to sound in the era before dictionaries had standardized the English language. Irvin has appeared as Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.

Early Notables of the Irvin family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Adam Irvine, Burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from Aberdeenshire. Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum (d. 1658), the Royalist, "was descended from William de Irvine, who was armour-bearer to Robert Bruce, and was rewarded for his devoted services by a grant of the forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, at that time part of a royal forest. A grandson of William de Irvine (Sir Alexander) distinguished himself...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Irvin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Irvin Ranking

In the United States, the name Irvin is the 1,442nd most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Irvin family to Ireland

Some of the Irvin 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.

United States Irvin migration to the United States +

The North American colonies beckoned, with their ample land and opportunity as their freedom from the persecution suffered by so many Clan families back home. Many Scots even fought against England in the American War of Independence to gain this freedom. Recently, clan societies have allowed the ancestors of these brave Scottish settlers to rediscover their familial roots. Among them:

Irvin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Irvin, who arrived in America in 1802 [7]
  • Charlotte Irvin, aged 45, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1804 [7]
  • George Irvin, aged 38, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Joseph Irvin, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Archibald Irvin, aged 25, who landed in South Carolina in 1812 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Irvin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Irvin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Irvin, aged 17, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Jane Irvin, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Edward Irvin, aged 1, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • James Irvin, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Mary Irvin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1837
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Irvin migration to Australia +

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

Irvin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • W. Irvin, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [8]

New Zealand Irvin 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:

Irvin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Peter Irvin, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dorette" in 1874 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Irvin (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Telford Irvin (1929-2017), American politician, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture (1969–2011), member of the Georgia House of Representatives
  • Monford Merrill "Monte" Irvin (1919-2016), American Major League Baseball left fielder and right fielder in the Negro leagues and later a Major League Baseball player, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973
  • Shirley June Fry Irvin (b. 1927), former a World No. 1 American female tennis player, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1970
  • Sam Irvin, American film and television director, producer, screen writer
  • Sandora Lavett Irvin (b. 1982), American professional basketball player for the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
  • Marissa Irvin (b. 1980), American former tennis player
  • Byron Edward Irvin (b. 1966), retired American professional NBA basketball player
  • Leslie Leroy Irvin (1895-1966), American stunt-man who made the first free-fall parachute jump in 1919
  • Michael Jerome Irvin (b. 1966), American former NFL football player for the Dallas Cowboys, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2007)
  • James Irvin (1800-1862), American politician
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Irvin 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. Lower, 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 Scotland. 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)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from on Facebook