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Meaning of Name IRVING

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Date: 2 Oct 2021 [unknown]
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From where does the Surname IRVING originate?

Its meaning and history.

This profile is part of the Irving Name Study.

Names. Everyone has one, most people have a vague idea what their own means, but few give them much more thought. The study of names is called onomastics, a field which touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, philology and much more.

When people refer to the "meaning of a name", they are most likely referring to the etymology, which is the original literal meaning.

From a Scottish surname that was in turn derived from a Scottish place name meaning "green water". Historically this name has been relatively common first name among Jews, who have used it as an American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I such as Isaac, Israel and Isaiah. A famous bearer was the Russian-American songwriter and lyricist Irving Berlin (1888-1989), whose birth name was Israel Beilin.

The discussion below is taken from

This surname is derived from a geographical locality. (1) 'of Irvine, 'a parish in Ayrshire; (a) 'of Irving,' a parish in Dumfriesshire. That all these variants come of one or two stocks is incontestable. Mr. Robert Bruce Armstrong in his book, The Debateable Land (p. 185), finds the following variations of this border name: Irving, Erwing, Erwyn, Irrwin, Irrwing, Irveyn, Irwynn, and Urwen. The last is a well known form of the surname in Northumberland. This is the only variant without representation in my copy of the London Directory. It is not often that a surname is found with three different initial letters. — A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1896) by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley

Irving. Erewine and Erwinne are Old English personal names (Searle), and a Gilchrist filius Eruini witnessed a grant by Ranulfus filius Dunegal in Galloway between 1124—65, The surname, however, is of territorial origin: (1) from Irving, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire, There are many Irvings (or Irvines as most of the Dumfriesshire families spell the name) here. (2) from Irvine in Ayrshire. The Dumfriesshire parish however was the chief source of the name. Robert de Hirewine, a charter witness in 1226, is first of the name recorded, A charter by Garnelin, bishop of St. Andrews, c. 1260, is witnessed by Robert de Iruwyn (Stodart, II). John de Herwyne was a tenant under the Douglases in the barony of Buittle, 1376, and Gilchrist Herwynd was tenant in the parish of Morton in same year (RHM., I, p. lvii, lix). William de Irwyne, Clerk of Register, obtained the Forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, in free barony from Robert I, 1324 (Ilhis., III, p. 292), and was thus ancestor of the Irvines of Drum. In 1331 he had another charter of lands from Alexander, bishop of Aberdeen (REA., I, p. 52), and in 1332 provision was made of a canonry and prebend of Dunkeld to John de Irwyn (Pap. II, p. 385) "Gude Sir Alexander Irvine, The much renownit Laird of Drum."fell in the battle of Harlaw in 1411. An offshoot of the Aberdeenshire family appears in Shetland in the middle of the sixteenth century. James Vrowing (as his name is spelled) was fined in 1602 "for bleiding of Jhone Leisk" in Dunrossness (Mill, Diary, p. 185). Adam Irvine, burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from residence there. The Boneshaw family of Irvine was considered by Act of Parliament in 1587 as chief family of the name. Washington Irving (1783—1859), the American author, was son of William Irving, a native of Shapinsay, Orkney. In the North of Ireland the name has become confused with Irish Erwin from OhEireamhoin. Eirryn, Erevein 1587, Erwine 1432, Erwing, Erwyn 1445, Erwyne 1438, Hurven, Irewing, Irewyne 1519, Irrewin 1550, Irrewine 1568, Irrewing 1572, Irruwing, Irrwin, Irrwing, Iruin 1602, Iruyn 1514, Iruyne 1493, Irvein 1534, Irveing 1679, Irveyn, Irvin, Irving, Irvinge 1641, Irvinn, Irvying 1596, Irvyn 1500, Irwan, Irwen, Irwing, Irwyng 1593, Irwynn, Urwen 1547, Urwin, Urwing 1576, Urwvng 1571, Vruing 1624, Vruving 1568, Vrwin 1567, Wrwing 1566, Yirewing 1576, Yrewing 1586, Yrwen 1592, Yrwin, Yrwing 1424. Plural: Eurwings, Irrewings, Irrwingis, Irvyerins, Irwaynes, Irwenis, Irwingis, Irwynnis, Urewens, Yrwens, Yrwins. There are many spellings in index to REO.

— The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948) (Celtic) belonging to 1 Irvine (Ayrshire), anciently Earwine, Irewin, Irvin, Orewin (A.D. 1295), Yrewen (12th cent.) [The town is named from the river. Johnston, ‘Place-Names of Scotland’ (2nd ed., p. 167), with apparently the concurrence of the late Dr. A. MacBain, gives without reserve the etymology of Gaelic iar, west + abhuinn ( = Welsh afon), river. This is not convincing as to the first element: the 13th cent. form Orewin noted above rather points to Gaelic (and Irish) odhar (dh as h), dun, brown; the other forms being oblique (see under Mac Guire). This is the etymology given by Joyce (‘Irish Names of Places,’ ii. 287) for the Irish river-names Ire and Nier (n- Ier). But, after all, as the Irvine is in the old Strathclyde region it is questionable whether the name is not merely the O.Wel. (afon) erwyn-er, intens. prefix + (g)wyn—white (river)] 2 Irving or Irvine (Dumfriesshire). The Irvine burn here is East-flowing. W. F. Irvine, F.S.A., says that ‘by far the largest clan of the name were settled round the Dumfriesshire Irvine.’ Gude Sir Allexander Irvine, The much renownit Laird of Drum.— The Battle of Harlaw, 217-8. There has been some confusion with Irwin (English) = Erwin, q.v. — Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison

(Scottish) One who came from Irvine or Irving (green Scotland), the names of several villages in Scotland. — Dictionary of American Family Names (1956) by Elsdon Coles Smith

A parish and a river of Ayrshire. The family were of long standing in the S. and S.W. of Scotland, but the descendants of William de I., of Drum, co. Aberdeen, have been seated upon that estate ever since the days of king Robert Bruce, whose armour-bearer he was, and who gave him the lands. The name has been written Irwin, Irwyn, Irvin, &c., but Irving is a distinct name. — Patronymica Britannica (1860) by Mark Antony Lower

An ancient parish in Dumfriesshire. — Patronymica Britannica (1860) by Mark Antony Lower

Local: from the town of Irvine in Ayrshire, which is situate on the river Irvine, originally Iar avon or west river. The family are descended from William de Irwin, armour bearer to Robert Bruce, who received from that king a grant of the forest of Drum, and his own arms, when Earl of Carrick, viz s "three holly leaves." — The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames (1862) by Clifford Stanley Sims (1839-1896)

Local. From a river and town of the same name in Ayrshire, Scotland. — An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur


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