This surname, also O'Gavin is rendered in Gaelic Irish as O'Gaibhin. The name is familiar to both Connacht and south Munster, areas to which the three septs belong. 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 father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers where GAVIN is a Caithness surname, derived from the ancient name Gwalchmai, signifying Hawk of Battle. It was a favourite forename throughout Strathclyde in past times, and it was a common surname among the gypsies of the Border. Early records of the name mention Alexander Gavin, documented in the year 1647 Brechin. James Gavine was a brewer in Potterrow, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1669. John Gavin was documented in Chastletoune in the year of 1682. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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