Show ContentsOlivier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was in the Scottish/English Borderlands that the Strathclyde-Briton people first used the ancient name Olivier. 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 Olivier family

The surname Olivier 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 Olivier family

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

Olivier Spelling Variations

Scribes in Medieval Scotland spelled names by sound rather than any set of rules, so an enormous number of spelling variations exist in names of that era. Olivier has been spelled Oliver, Olivier, Ollivier, Olliver and others.

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

Olivier World Ranking

In the United States, the name Olivier is the 7,186th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4] However, in Quebec, Canada, the name Olivier is ranked the 768th most popular surname. [5] And in France, the name Olivier is the 101st popular surname with an estimated 28,784 people with that name. [6] South Africa ranks Olivier as 141st with 41,906 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Olivier family to Ireland

Some of the Olivier 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 Olivier migration to the United States +

The number of Strathclyde Clan families sailing for North America increased steadily as the persecution continued. In the colonies, they could find not only freedom from the iron hand of the English government, but land to settle on. The American War of Independence allowed many of these settlers to prove their independence, while some chose to go to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots played essential roles in the forging of both great nations. Among them:

Olivier Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Olivier, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [8]
  • Mr. Olivier, who settled in Carolina in 1679
  • Peter Olivier, who arrived in South Carolina in 1680 [8]
Olivier Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Olivier, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [8]
  • Magdeleine Bourque Olivier, who landed in South Carolina in 1755-1756 [8]
  • Paul Olivier, who landed in South Carolina in 1755-1756 [8]
  • Anne Olivier, aged 56, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1785 [8]
  • Laurence Olivier, who landed in New York in 1798 [8]
Olivier Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Louisa Olivier, who arrived in New Orleans in 1821
  • Carlos Olivier, aged 60, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1829 [8]
  • Louisa Amelia Olivier, aged 2, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846 [8]
  • Albert P Olivier, aged 3, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846 [8]
  • Johannes Olivier, who landed in Iowa in 1866 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Olivier migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Olivier Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Jean Olivier, who landed in Montreal in 1653
  • Jehan Olivier, who arrived in Montreal in 1660
  • Maurice Olivier, aged 27, who arrived in Quebec in 1665
  • Mr. Maurice Olivier, French settler travelling to Canada for work arriving on 20th June 1665 [9]
  • Marc Olivier, who arrived in Canada in 1690

Contemporary Notables of the name Olivier (post 1700) +

  • Arthur C. "Art" Olivier (b. 1957), American politician, Mayor of Bellflower, California (1994-1999)
  • J. B. Olivier, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 2nd District, 1859-60 [10]
  • Art Olivier, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for Vice President of the United States, 2000 [10]
  • Carlos Olivier (1952-2007), Venezuelan actor
  • Giorgio Borg Olivier (1911-1980), Maltese politician, two-time Prime Minister of Malta, Leader of the Nationalist Party
  • Joseph Mario Jacques Olivier PC (b. 1944), Canadian politician, 36th Mayor of Longueuil, Quebec (2001-2005)
  • Philip Olivier (b. 1980), born Philip Lee Borg-Olivier, British actor, model and stage performer, best known for playing the role of Tim O'Leary in the soap opera Brookside
  • Wynand Olivier (b. 1983), South African rugby union footballer
  • Sir Lawrence Kerr Olivier (1907-1989), Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy-winning English actor, director, and producer
  • William Olivier, Canadian Diplomat
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Olivier 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. "The first 1,000 family names by rank, Quebec (in French only)" Institut de la statistique du Quebec,
  7. "Most Common Last Names in South Africa." Forebears,
  8. 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)
  9. Debien, Gabriel. Liste Des Engagés Pour Le Canada Au XVIIe Siècle. Vol. 6, Laval University, 1952. (Retreived 24th May 2018). Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, March 16) . Retrieved from on Facebook