Show ContentsNevins History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the first people to use Nevins as a surname were the Strathclyde-Britons. It was a name someone who lived in Ayrshire. The surname Nevins was also regarded as derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac Naoimhin, which is derived from the word "naomh," meaning "little saint." The name was a favorite personal name in Galloway and Ayrshire. [1] [2]

Another source claims the name "points to an early but forgotten personal name," [3] but the lion's share of sources point to the aforementioned "little saint" origin.

Early Origins of the Nevins family

The surname Nevins was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, where the first record of the family appeared in the Latin form Nevinus, who was parson of Neveth and witnessed grant of a saltpan in Rosneath to the monks of Paisley, c. 1230. [1]

"Patrick filius Nevyn mentioned in 1284 is doubtless Patrick fiz John Nevyn or Neivin of Lanerkshire who rendered homage, 1296. Thomas filius Neuini served on an inquest in 1295, another Thomas filius Nyuini or Niuini was a tenant in Garvalde, 1376, and Crunyhatoun was leased to Robert filius Niuini in the same year." [1]

Some of the family ventured south into England where as a forename Neuyn filius Ade was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland in 1332 and Thomas filius Neuini was listed in 1295. [4]

Early History of the Nevins family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nevins research. Another 372 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1230, 1296, 1386, 1400, 1538, 1539, 1590, 1594, 1634, 1635, 1639, 1650, 1675, 1680, 1684, 1686, 1695, 1700, 1703, 1707, 1711, 1715, 1720, 1721, 1722, 1725, 1744 and 1793 are included under the topic Early Nevins History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nevins Spelling Variations

The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Nevins has been spelled Niven, Nevin, Nevins, Nivens, Navin, Newin, Nevane, Niffen, Nifen, Niving, Neving, Newing, Neiven, Nivine, Nevison, Niveson and many more.

Early Notables of the Nevins family

Notable amongst the family at this time was Kate McNiven (died 1715), also called Kate Nevin, a young nurse who served the House of Inchbrakie in the Parish of Monzie, near Crieff in Scotland in the early 1700s, she was one of the...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nevins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nevins Ranking

In the United States, the name Nevins is the 7,660th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Nevins family to Ireland

Some of the Nevins family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 221 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Nevins migration to the United States +

The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

Nevins Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Nevins, who landed in Virginia in 1788 [6]
Nevins Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Prim Nevins, aged 25, who landed in New York in 1817 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Nevins (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Arthur Seymor Nevins (1891-1979), American Deputy Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (1943-1945) [7]
  • Natalie Nevins (1925-2010), American singer, known for her appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1965 to 1969
  • Col. Henry Coffin Nevins (1843-1892), American industrialist
  • Claudette Nevins (b. 1937), born Claudette Weintraub, an American film, television and theater actress
  • Henry B. Nevins (1878-1950), American master yacht builder and author, founder of Henry B. Nevins, Incorporated in 1907
  • Al Nevins (1915-1965), born Albert Tepper, American musician, producer, arranger, guitarist and violinist
  • David C. Nevins Sr. (1809-1881), American New England industrialist, namesake of the Nevins Memorial Library
  • David C. Nevins Jr. (1839-1898), American wealthy merchant in the city of Methuen, Massachusetts
  • Harriet Francoeur Nevins (1841-1929), American philanthropist and animal rights activist
  • Sheila Nevins (b. 1939), American television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films, she has won 22 individual Primetime Emmy awards, more than any other person
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Nevins 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: Vivis sperandum
Motto Translation: Where there is life there is hope

  1. 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)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Arthur Nevins. Retrieved from on Facebook