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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the Scottish Olyphant family come from? What is the Scottish Olyphant family crest and coat of arms? When did the Olyphant family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Olyphant family history?

Although the Scottish Olyphant surname is known to derive from the Medieval Latin word "olifantus," meaning "elephant," its origins as a surname are quite uncertain. David de Olifard is the progenitor of the House of Oliphant. He was one of the many Anglo-Norman nobles that were invited northward by the early Norman kings of Scotland. He settled in Northamptonshire, but when he saved King David I during the siege of Winchester Castle, he received a small grant of lands in Roxburghshire. Under later rulers, the Oliphant lands were significantly extended as King Malcolm granted the family Bothwell in Lanarkshire and King William I granted them Arbuthnott in Mearns.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Oliphant, Olifant, Olifard and others.

First found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland. "The first of the descendants of this Norman, occurring in the public records, was David Olifard, who served in the army of King Stephen in 1141. A conspiracy was formed against the Empress Maud, who escaped from Winchester, attended by David I. Surrounded by the enemy, the Scottish King owed his safety to the exertions of his godson Olifard, who, although in the adverse party, aided his Royal opponent. In recompense, the rescued Monarch gave to his preserver, who settled in North Britain, the Lands of Crailing and Smallham in Roxburghshire, and conferred on him the dignified office of Justiciary. Thus was established the famous family of Oliphant, so distinguished in the annals of Scotland. " [1] Sir William Oliphant, of Aberdalgy gallantly defended Stirling Castle again Edward I's invasion. The Castle was the last stronghold that remained in he hands of the Scots. The battle for the Castle began April 22nd and was finally over July 20th with Sir William taken prisoner. He was then forced to swear allegiance to King Edward I of England under penalty of death. However, eight years later, he was appointed Warden of Stirling Castle by Robert the Bruce of Scotland to whom he had willingly pledged allegiance. And yet again, Edward I of England again took him prisoner.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olyphant research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1456, 1498, 1583, 1631, 1631, 1680, 1715, 1748, 1715, 1725, 1780, 1691, 1767, 1715, 1792 and 1745 are included under the topic Early Olyphant History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 147 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Olyphant Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: William Oliphant who was banished to New Jersey in 1685; James Oliphant arrived in Georgia in 1775; Lawrence Oliphant arrived in St. Christopher in 1716..

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  • Timothy David Olyphant (b. 1968), American actor


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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: Tout pour voir
Motto Translation: Provide for all

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  1. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Olyphant Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Olyphant Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 21 January 2016 at 15:29.

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