Vivian History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The notable Vivian family arose among the Cornish People, a race with a rich Celtic heritage and an indomitable fighting spirit who inhabited the southwest of England. While surnames were well-known during the English medieval period, Cornish People originally used only a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames came into common use is interesting. As the population of medieval Europe multiplied, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Patronymic surnames were derived from given names and were the predominant type of surname among the Celtic peoples of Britain. However, the people of Cornwall provide a surprising exception to this rule, and patronymic surnames are less common among them than other people of Celtic stock, such as their Welsh neighbors. This is due to the greater influence of English bureaucracy and naming practices in Cornwall at the time that surnames first arose. This type of surname blended perfectly with the prevailing Feudal System. One feature that is occasionally found in Cornish surnames of this type is the suffix -oe or -ow; this is derived from the Cornish plural suffix -ow. is a patronymic surname that came from the ancient Latin given name Vivianus, which itself comes from the Latin word vivus, meaning alive. One source notes that the "Vyvians of Truro are derived by certain genealogists from one Vivianus Annius, a Roman general, son in law to Domitius Corbulo!" [1]

Early Origins of the Vivian family

The surname Vivian was first found in Cornwall where the family has held a large estate named Trelowarren in the village of Mawgan-in-Meneage since 1427.

The Halliggye Fogou at Trelowarren is the largest fogou in Cornwall. Sir Richard Vyvyan referenced the fogou at Halligey, Trelowarren in his journals. In 1982, the site was excavated after routine ploughing of the field, breached the roof of the main chamber. This hole has since been turned into an entrance stairway for visitors.

The first record of the surname was "Sir Vyel Vyvyan, Knight, who lived in the 13th century, and whose descendant John, having married an heiress of Ferrers, succeeded to the lordship of Trelowarren in the reign of Edward IV. " [2]

The lands and castle of St. Mawes, Cornwall were once held by Michael Vivian, Esq. of Trelowarren, who was made the first governor of this fortress. Another source claims that "in the reign of Elizabeth, it was sold to Hannibal Vyvyan, Esq. of Trelowarren. But whatever doubts may arise as to the exact time when these lands came into the Vyvyan family, it is certain that they retained it for several generations, until the days of Charles II. when Sir Wyell Vyvyan is said to have sold the land on which the castle stands, and the annexed estate, to John Earl of Bath, by whom it was again transferred to Sir Joseph Tredenham." [3]

Early History of the Vivian family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vivian research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1772, 1545, 1610, 1601, 1601, 1607, 1575, 1635, 1613, 1665, 1640, 1665, 1613, 1724, 1681, 1736, 1660 and 1727 are included under the topic Early Vivian History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vivian Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Vivian, Vey, Vye, Vyse and others.

Early Notables of the Vivian family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Hannibal Vyvyan (1545-1610), of Trelowarren in Cornwall, an English Member of Parliament, High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1601,Vice Admiral of South Cornwall from 1601 to 1607; Sir Francis Vyvyan (1575-1635), of Trelowarren in Cornwall, an English Member of Parliament; Sir Richard Vyvyan, 1st Baronet (c.1613-1665), an English politician who sat in the...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Vivian Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Vivian migration to the United States +

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Vivian:

Vivian Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Vivian, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

Canada Vivian migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Vivian Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Richard Vivian was a planter of Careless Harbour, Newfoundland, in 1830 [5]
  • William Vivian, who settled in Twillingate, Newfoundland, in 1841 [5]
  • Miss Grace Vivian, (b. 1832), aged 23, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she died in the sinking [6]
  • James Vivian settled at Smart's Island in Bona Vista Bay, Newfoundland, in 1871 [5]

Australia Vivian migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Vivian Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Vivian, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" [7]
  • Thomas Vivian, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849 [7]
  • Mr. George Vivian, (b. 1827), aged 22, Cornish carpenter from Portmellon, Cornwall, UK departing from Plymouth on 17th August 1849 aboard the ship "Royal George" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 28th November 1849 [8]
  • Cathe. Vivian, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Omega" [9]
  • Thomas Vivian, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Magdalena" [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Vivian migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Vivian Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Vivian, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Kinnaird" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 10th July 1860 [11]
  • Mrs. Vivian, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Kinnaird" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 10th July 1860 [11]
  • John Vivian, aged 28, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863
  • Elizabeth Vivian, aged 29, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Vivian, (b. 1834), aged 29, Cornish settler departing on 18th June 1863 aboard the ship "Accrington" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 5th September 1863 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Vivian (post 1700) +

  • John Charles Vivian (1889-1964), American attorney, journalist, and politician, Governor of Colorado (1943-1947)
  • Weston Edward Vivian (b. 1924), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Michigan 2nd District, 1965-67; Defeated, 1966, 1968; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1976 [13]
  • Mark Vivian, American politician, Mayor of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, 2000-03 [13]
  • John R. Vivian, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1964 [13]
  • John F. Vivian (1864-1954), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Colorado, 1896 ; Candidate in primary for Governor of Colorado, 1926 [13]
  • John Charles Vivian (1889-1964), American politician, Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, 1939-43; Governor of Colorado, 1943-47 [13]
  • Frank Vivian, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 12th District, 1906 [13]
  • Arthur H. Vivian, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1956 [13]
  • Valentine Vivian (1886-1969), English Army Colonel, and late head of the MI6 counter-espionage unit
  • John Henry Vivian (1785-1855), English industrialist and politician, member of the UK Parliament from Swansea (1832-1855)
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Bertie Adams Vivian, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [14]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/wreck_of_emigrant_ship_john_1855.pdf
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARRY LORREQUER 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849HarryLorrequer.htm
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) OMEGA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Omega.htm
  10. ^ South Australian Register Friday 26th August 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Magdalena 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/magdalena1853.shtml
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate