Show ContentsOlivia History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Olivia was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name 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 Olivia family

The surname Olivia 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 Olivia family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olivia 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 Olivia History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Olivia Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were hardly exact sciences in Medieval Scotland. Sound, rather than any set of rules, was the basis for spellings, so one name was often spelled different ways even within a single document. Spelling variations are thus an extremely common occurrence in Medieval Scottish names. Olivia has been spelled Oliver, Olivier, Ollivier, Olliver and others.

Early Notables of the Olivia 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 Olivia Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Olivia family to Ireland

Some of the Olivia 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 Olivia migration to the United States +

Such hard times forced many to leave their homeland in search of opportunity across the Atlantic. Many of these families settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. The ancestors of many of these families have rediscovered their roots in the 20th century through the establishment of Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Among them:

Olivia Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jean Baptiste Olivia, aged 1, who arrived in South Carolina in 1763 [4]
Olivia Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E Olivia, aged 53, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1851 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Olivia (post 1700) +

  • Ida Olivia Keeling (1915-2021), American centenarian track and field athlete, she held the Masters records in 60 meter and 100 meter distances for women in the 95-99 and 100-plus age groups
  • Marlène Olivia Harnois (b. 1986), Canadian-born, French three-time gold and four-time bronze medalist taekwondo athlete
  • Lisa Olivia Munn (b. 1980), American comedic actress and model
  • Bernice Olivia Oehler, American artist
  • Dame Olivia de Havilland D.B.E. (1916-2020), British-American Academy Award winning actress, known for her roles in Gone with the Wind (1939), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941) was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017
  • Olivia Wilde (b. 1984), born Olivia Jane Cockburn, American actress who took her stage name from Irish author Oscar Wilde, best known for her role in the television series House (2007-2012) and in Tron: Legacy (2010)
  • Olivia Cajero Bedford (1938-2022), American politician who was a Democratic member of the Arizona Senate from 2013 to 2019
  • Olivia Podmore (1997-2021), New Zealand professional racing cyclist who died at the age of 24
  • Olivia DeJonge, Australian West Australian Screen Award wining actress, known for The Visit (2015), Good Pretender (2011) and The Sisterhood of Night (2014)
  • Olivia Chaumont (b. 1950), French architect and transgender activist

The Olivia 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

  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) on Facebook