The surname of OLIVE was a baptismal name 'the son of Olier' a name meaning 'peace'. The name became very popular as a font name when one of the Peers of Charlemagnes Court (742-814) was so called. It was a favourite font name throughout Europe in the Middle Ages and brought into England during the wake of the Norman Invasion. The name is spelt Oliverus (without surname) in the Domesday Book of 1086. Jordan Oliver, was documented in the year 1201 in County Somerset. Holiver Hankoc of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. David Oliver and Sarah Cocks were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1750. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status.
Notable members of the name include Isaac Oliver (1560-1617) who was the English miniature painter, of French Huguenot origin. He executed portraits of Sir Philip Sidney, Anne of Denmark, and others. His son, and pupil Peter (1594-1648) continued his work, and was employed by Charles I to copy old master paintings in miniature.
Emile Ollivier (1825-1913) was the French politician born in Marseilles. He established a reputation at the Parisian bar. In January 1870, Napoleon III charged him to form a constitutional ministry, but he rushed his own country into war with Germany. He was overthrown, and withdrew to Italy for a while. He was the author of numerous works.
The name is also spelt Ollier, Olver and Olliver.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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