IRVING Surname Meaning and Family History

What Does the Last Name Irving Mean?

The Irving surname comes from a Scottish place name meaning green water, such as this pool at Valle Verzasca, Canton of Ticino, Switzerland.
Heinz Hudelist / Getty Images

The Irving surname generally originated as a geographical surname, indicating someone who was from Irving, the name of a historic parish in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, or from Irvine in Strathclyde, Scotland. 

It may also be a variant of Irvine, a habitational surname for someone from Irvine in Ayrshire, which is named for the river Irvine that originates in Ayrshire and flows through Dumfriesshire, from the Welsh ir, yr, meaning "green" or "fresh," and afon, meaning "water." 

Surname Origin: Scottish, English

Alternate Surname Spellings: IRVINE, IRVIN, IRWIN, IRWINE, URVINE, ERWIN, ERWINE, ERVING

Where in the World is the IRVING Surname Found?

While it originated in Scotland, the Irving surname is now most prevalent in the United States, according to surname distribution data from Forebears. However, it is more common, based on percentage of population, in Jamaica, followed by Micronesia, Isle of Man, Scotland, New Zealand, Taiwan and England. Within Scotland, Irving is still most common in Dumfriesshire, where it originated, ranking as the 3rd most popular surname in that area at the time of the 1881 census.

The Irving surname is also popular in the Cumbria and Northumberland counties of England, according to WorldNames PublicProfiler, followed by the Dumfries and Galloway council district in Scotland. It is also more common in Canada than in the United States, especially in Nova Scotia.


 

Famous People with the Last Name IRVING

  • Sir Henry Irving - British stage actor during the Victorian era
  • T. B. (Thomas Ballantyne) Irving - publisher of the first American English translation of the Qur'an
  • Thomas Irving - Union navy sailor during the U.S. Civil War; recipient of the Medal of Honor for helping to rescue his grounded ship
  • Edward Irving - Scottish clergyman
  • Washington Irving - American author best known for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820). 
     

Genealogy Resources for the Surname IRVING

Clan Irwin
Learn about the history of this ancient Scottish border clan, plus upcoming events and tours.

Clan Irwin Surname DNA Study
Tradition recorded in the 17th century claims that the Irvines or Irvings of Eskdale and Bonshaw (in Dumfriesshire, in the Scottish Borders), Castle Irvine (in Co. Fermanagh, in Ulster), Drum and Marr (in Aberdeenshire), Mearns (Kincardineshire), Orkney and Perthshire were all descended from a single ancestor, who was also the progenitor of the kings of Scotland from 1034 to 1286. This study, with over 400 members, aims to use Y-DNA testing to sort out the various family branches.

Most Common Scottish Surnames and their Meanings
Campbell, Stewart, Wilson, Reid, MacDonald... Are you one of the millions of individuals of Scottish ancestry sporting one of these top common last names from Scotland? 

Irving Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as an Irving family crest or coat of arms for the Irving surname.

 Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

FamilySearch - IRVING Genealogy
Explore over 400,000 historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Irving surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

IRVING Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Vanderbilt surname.

DistantCousin.com - IRVING Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Irving.

The Irving Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the popular last name Irving from the website of Genealogy Today.


 

Explore Additional Surname Meanings:
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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

 

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