Sulivan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Gaelic name used by the Sulivan 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 Sulivan family

The surname Sulivan 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 Sulivan family

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

Sulivan 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 Sulivan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including O'Sullivan, Sullivan and others.

Early Notables of the Sulivan family (pre 1700)

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 Sulivan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Sulivan migration to the United States +

Under the rule of England, land ownership in Ireland changed dramatically, and many native Irish families found themselves renting out land to farm from absentee owners. This was one of the prime reasons that immigration to North America began in the late 18th century: Irish farmers dreamed of owning their own parcel of land to work for themselves. At this point, the immigrants were at least of modest means for the passage across the Atlantic was often quite dear. In the 1840s the Great Potato Famine created an exodus of people of quite different means. These people were most often destitute: they either sold anything they had to gain a passage or they were sponsored by philanthropic societies. Many of these immigrants were sick from disease and starvation: as a result many did not survive the long transatlantic journey. Although those settlers that did survive were often despised and discriminated against by people already established in these nations, they were critical to rapid development of the powerful industrial nations of the United States and the country that would later become known as Canada. An examination of immigration and passenger lists shows many persons bearing the name of Sulivan or one of its variants:

Sulivan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Margaret Sulivan, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [3]
  • Mary Sulivan, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [3]
Sulivan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Sulivan, who arrived in Virginia in 1769-1770 [3]
Sulivan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Flowrance Sulivan, who landed in Arkansas in 1840 [3]

Canada Sulivan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sulivan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Anthony Sulivan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Contemporary Notables of the name Sulivan (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Timothy John Sulivan CB CBE (b. 1946), former British Army officer, General Officer Commanding the 4th Division (1998-2001)
  • Laurence Sulivan PC (1783-1866), British statesman and philanthropist, Deputy Secretary at War, grandson of Laurence Sulivan
  • Laurence Sulivan (1713-1786), English politician, Member of Parliament for Taunton (1762-1768) and for Ahburton (1768-1774), Chairman of the East India Company in 1781
  • Rear Admiral Thomas Ball Sulivan CB (1781-1857), Cornish Royal Navy officer, Commander-in-Chief, South East Coast of America Station (1838-1841)
  • Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan (1810-1890), British naval officer and hydrographer, a leading advocate of the value of nautical surveying in relation to naval operations, son of Thomas Ball Sulivan

The Sulivan 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
  3. ^ 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