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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

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

The old Gaelic name used by the Sullivan 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.

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One name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer because one must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Sullivan family name include O'Sullivan, Sullivan and others.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sullivan research. Another 301 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1590, 1660, 1700, 1745, 1748, 1784, and 1837 are included under the topic Early Sullivan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 57 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sullivan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of Sullivan or one of its variants:

Sullivan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Jael Sullivan, who landed in Massachusetts in 1654
  • Onoris Sullivan, who landed in Virginia in 1656
  • Teage Sullivan, who arrived in Maryland in 1658
  • Florence Sullivan, who arrived in South Carolina in 1669
  • Jeremy Sullivan, who landed in Maryland in 1670

Sullivan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Alice Sullivan, who landed in Virginia in 1715
  • Joan Sullivan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Austis Sullivan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • Honour Sullivan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • David Sullivan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765


Sullivan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Corn Sullivan, aged 17, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Dennis H Sullivan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Sylvester Sullivan, aged 21, landed in New York in 1812
  • Silvester Sullivan, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Michael J Sullivan, aged 15, arrived in America in 1822


Sullivan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Frank Sullivan, who landed in Mississippi in 1902

Sullivan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Michl Sullivan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Jno Sullivan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Anthony Sullivan, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Darby Sullivan, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752

Sullivan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Bess Sullivan, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Edmund Sullivan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Elener Sullivan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Margaret Sullivan, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Mary Sullivan, who arrived in Canada in 1823


Sullivan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Timothy Sullivan, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James Sullivan, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Michael Sullivan, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Sullivan, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Sullivan, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia


Sullivan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Edward Sullivan landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • John Sullivan landed in Mahurangi, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Ellen Sullivan, aged 29, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • John Sullivan, aged 10, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Daniel Sullivan, aged 8, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842


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  • John Lawrence Sullivan (1858-1918), America's first heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle boxing
  • Louis Henri Sullivan (1856-1924), American architect
  • Barry Sullivan (1912-1994), American stage, television, and film actor
  • Susan Sullivan (b. 1944), American actress
  • John Florence Sullivan (1894-1956), original name of Fred Allen, American comedian
  • Edward Vincent "Ed" Sullivan (1901-1974), American entertainment writer and television host, best known for the TV variety show The Ed Sullivan Show which ran for 23 years
  • Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan (1830-1890), Indiana lawyer, Brigadier General in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan PH.D. (b. 1951), American geologist and a former NASA astronaut, first American woman to walk in space
  • Daniel John "Danny" Sullivan (b. 1950), American former racing driver, winner of the 1985 Indianapolis 500
  • Leon Howard Sullivan (1922-2001), American Baptist minister, civil rights leader and social activist, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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  • Wild Bill Sullivan, King of the Hollow by Ann Hammons.
  • Adam's Ancestors by Thomas Nathan Clark.
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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: Lamh foistenach abú
Motto Translation: The steady hand to victory.

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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  11. ...

The Sullivan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sullivan 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 28 June 2015 at 06:34.

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