The surname of NEVINSON was derived from the Gaelic Mac Cnaimhin, and was formerly spelt as Knaven. They are a sept of the Ui Maine notable both as poets and physicians. The name, usually as Nevin without the Mac is found in all the provinces. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the fathers Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Early records of the name mention Nevinus 1230 Ireland. Thomas filius Nevini was documented in 1295 and John Nivini in the year 1675. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. A notable member of the name was Christopher Richard Wynne NEVINSON (1889-1946) the English artist born in Hampstead, London. He studied at the Slade School and for a brief period went into journalism before venturing back to painting and etching in Paris. In 1937 he published the autobiographical 'Paint and Prejudice'. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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