Oliver History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Scottish history reveals Oliver was first used as a surname by the Strathclyde-Briton people. It was a name for someone who lived in Roxburgh. While most of the name likely derive from the Old French Oivier, it is supposed that some of the Scottish instances of this name derive from the Old Norse name Oleifr.

Early Origins of the Oliver family

The surname Oliver was first found in Roxburghshire, where the first on record in this shire was Walter Olifer who was a Justiciar (Judge) of the district, who witnessed a gift of William the Lion to the serf Gillemachoi de Conglud with his children and all his descendants to the bishop of Glasgow c. 1180. Olyver, son of Kyluert, was one of the followers of the earl of March at end of twelfth century. [1]

Despite the fact that the lion's hare of the family do originate in Scotland and into the English borders, there are significant early English records. "Its principal homes are as follows: in the north, in Northumberland and Durham, whence it extends into the Scottish border counties; in the west, in Herefordshire; in the east, in Lincolnshire; in the south - west (including the contracted form of Olver), in Cornwall; and in the south - east, in Kent and Sussex. " [2]

And we would be remiss if we did not mention the earliest entry of the family in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a personal name. Later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the name as both a personal name and a surname: Oliver Crane in Huntingdonshire, 1273; and Peter filius Oliver in Oxfordshire. [3]

Early History of the Oliver family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oliver research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1266, 1330, 1436, 1541, 1542, 1546, 1557 and are included under the topic Early Oliver History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Oliver Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that rules have developed and the process of spelling according to sound has been abandoned. Scottish names from before that time tend to appear under many different spelling variations. Oliver has been spelled Oliver, Olivier, Ollivier, Olliver and others.

Early Notables of the Oliver family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Oliuer, prepositus of Berwick, who witnessed a gift of land to the Hospital of Soltre, c. 1250-1266; William Holifarth or Holyfarth held land in Perth, c. 1330; Thomas Olyver de Swyne who witnessed a declaration dated...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oliver Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Oliver family to Ireland

Some of the Oliver family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Oliver migration to the United States +

Unwelcome in their beloved homeland, many Scots sailed for the colonies of North America. There, they found land and freedom, and even the opportunity to make a new nation in the American War of Independence. These Scottish settlers played essential roles in the founding of the United States, and the shaping of contemporary North America. Among them:

Oliver Settlers in United States in the 16th Century
  • Francisco de Oliver, who sailed to New Spain in 1536
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Adam Oliver, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [4]
  • Nicholas Oliver, who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Edward Oliver, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [4]
  • Geoffrey Oliver, who landed in Maryland in 1646 [4]
  • Mary Oliver, who settled in Virginia in 1651
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Brattle Oliver, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712 [4]
  • Isaac Oliver, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [4]
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Oliver, aged 29, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Esteban Oliver, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1816 [4]
  • James Oliver, who landed in South Carolina in 1821 [4]
  • Elizabeth Oliver, who landed in New York in 1832 [4]
  • Diego Oliver, who arrived in Spanish Main in 1834 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Oliver migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • John Oliver was a boatkeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1681 [5]
Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Oliver, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. Aaron Oliver U.E. who settled in Richmond [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Indian Department [6]
  • Mr. Frederick Oliver U.E. who settled in Richmond [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Indian Department, married with 6 children [6]
  • Thomas Oliver was a fisherman in Devil's Cove, Newfoundland in 1796 [5]
Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Oliver, aged 40, a farmer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
  • Mary Oliver, aged 36, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
  • Rhoda Oliver, aged 17, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
  • William Oliver, aged 15, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
  • Stephen Oliver, aged 12, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Oliver migration to Australia +

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

Oliver Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Oliver, English convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. John Oliver, English convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. John Oliver, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 19th November 1827, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Peter Oliver, (b. 1780), aged 48, Scottish ploughman who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 13th March 1828, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1859 [9]
  • Mr. Philip Oliver, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Oliver Settlers in Australia in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Oliver, (b. 1889), aged 21, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Perthshire" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 26th December 1910 [11]

New Zealand Oliver 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:

Oliver Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Oliver, aged 13, a servant, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • James Oliver, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Margaret B. Oliver, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • George B. Oliver, aged 13, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Agnes B. Oliver, aged 11, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Oliver (post 1700) +

  • William Hosking "W.H." Oliver (1925-2015), New Zealand historian and poet, awarded the Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement, Non-Fiction in 2008
  • James Trevor "Jamie" Oliver MBE (b. 1975), English television chef, restaurateur, and media personality, perhaps best known for his global campaign for better food education
  • Frank Louis Oliver (1922-2018), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1973-2010)
  • Susan Oliver (1937-1990), born Charlotte Gercke, an American Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress, known for her work on Peyton Place (1964), BUtterfield 8 (1960) and The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
  • George Oliver, American bronze medalist for golf at the 1904 Olympic games
  • Major-General Lunsford Errett Oliver (1889-1978), American Chief of the Military Survey Mission to Turkey (1947) [12]
  • Edna May Oliver (1883-1942), born Edna May Nutter, an American stage and film actress popular in the 1930s
  • David Oliver (1962-1992), American actor, known for role as Perry Hutchins on the daytime soap opera Another World
  • Dale Byron Oliver (b. 1970), American music composer
  • Bernard M. "Barney" Oliver (1916-1995), American scientist in the fields of radar, television, and computers, inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2004)
  • ... (Another 141 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Mervyn John Oliver (1914-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Palmerston North, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [13]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Alan Henry Oliver (1923-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Lindisfarne, Tasmania, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Alfred Henry Oliver, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. H. Oliver (d. 1912), aged 32, English Greaser from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [17]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Raymond Brown Oliver, American Seaman First Class from California, USA 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 [18]


The Oliver 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: Ad foedera cresco
Motto Translation: I gain by treaty


Suggested Readings for the name Oliver +

  • 195 James Spencer Oliver and his Wife Sarah Elizabeth Bireley by Delia Klinger Redman, Oliver Genealogical Record, 1750-1970 by Claude Matthews Oliver.

  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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1827
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_queensland.pdf
  12. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Lunsford Oliver. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Oliver/Lunsford_Errett/USA.html
  13. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  14. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  15. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  16. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  18. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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