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


Irish surnames are all based on the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name Quinlivan is O Caoinleain or O Caoindealbhain.

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The surname Quinlivan was first found in County Meath (Irish: An Mhí) anciently part of the kingdom of Brega, located in Eastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Many spelling variations of the surname Quinlivan can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Quinlan, O'Quinlan, O'Quinlevan, O'Quinlivan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Quinlivan research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Quinlivan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Quinlivan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Quinlivan family came to North America quite early:

Quinlivan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Denis, John, Patrick Quinlivan all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Quinlivan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Mary and Michael Quinlivan settled in Canada in 1839

Quinlivan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Daniel Quinlivan, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Isle of Thanet"
  • Ann Quinlivan, aged 20, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Isle of Thanet"
  • Anne Quinlivan, aged 20, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

Quinlivan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Michael Quinlivan, aged 25, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • Bridget Quinlivan, aged 22, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • Mary Quinlivan, aged 7 months, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • Thomas Quinlivan, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Strathnaver" in 1874
  • Catherine Quinlivan, aged 60, a housekeeper, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Strathnaver" in 1874


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  • Charles Quinlivan (1924-1974), American film and television actor
  • Maurice Quinlivan (b. 1967), Irish Sinn Féin politician and a member of Limerick City Council
  • Nessan Quinlivan (b. 1965), Irish former Provisional IRA member
  • Luke Quinlivan (b. 1985), Australian water polo player


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  1. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  4. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  5. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  6. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  9. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The Quinlivan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Quinlivan 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 3 May 2016 at 21:44.

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