Show ContentsSolivan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Gaelic name used by the Solivan family in Ireland was O Suileabhain, which is partially derived from the word "suil," which means "eye." The surname probably means either one-eyed or hawk-eyed.

Early Origins of the Solivan family

The surname Solivan was first found in the territory of Cahir in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster. The Sullivan spelling is by far the most common name in Munster, and is predominantly found in the counties of Cork and Kerry, with a smaller but still significant population in County Limerick. [1]

Early History of the Solivan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Solivan research. Another 167 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1560, 1590, 1618, 1660, 1700, 1710, 1745, 1784 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Solivan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Solivan Spelling Variations

The scribes who created documents long before either the Gaelic or English language resembled their standardized versions of today recorded words as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages the names of many people were recorded under different spellings each time they were written down. Research on the Solivan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including O'Sullivan, Sullivan and others.

Early Notables of the Solivan family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Donall O'Sullivan Beare (1560-1618), Chief of the sept of his name in the district of Beare, co. Cork, who "engaged actively in the hostile movements in Ireland against the government of England in the last years of Queen Elizabeth." [2] Phillip O'Sullivan Beare (1590-1660), was a soldier in the Spanish army who is best remembered as a historian; and Colonel John O'Sullivan (b. 1700) was a companion to the "Young Pretender" who led the Irish Brigade at Culloden in 1745. Owen Roe O'Sulliavan (1700?-1784) was Gaelic poet, called in Irish Eoghan Ruadh, or Red-haired...
Another 103 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Solivan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Solivan family

Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine caused a great exodus of immigrants to North America. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name Solivan or one of its variants: Andrew, Arthur, Daniel, Denis, John, Michael, Patrick, Simon, Timothy and William O'Sullivan, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Anne, Bridget, Cornelius, Daniel, Denis, Ellen, James, Jeremiah, John, Julia, Mary, Owen, Patrick, Terence and William Sullivan all arrived in Boston in 1849.

The Solivan 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: Lamh foistenach abú
Motto Translation: The steady hand to victory.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook