Cavens of France and Scotland
By Clark CAVIN
There were multiple Cavens in the colonies prior 1776 , from Massachus to North Carolina, and there may well be multiples origins. These ara the three identified possibilities:
French: wine + cave; Irish or Gaelic: handsome or belonging to hollow (Harrison, Surnames of the United Kingdom supra); or Scottish place name in Galloway, Southwest Scotland. This article will present some information regarding the present day distribution of the name in France, Switzerland, and Scotland; discuss French heraldry attached to the name Cavin; and set out infor?mation on the lands of Cavens in Southwest Scotland.
There is a common belief that "our family came from Ireland" usually supported with reference to the similary with County Cavan. I do not know of any success in tracing the origin of any Caven living in North America prior to 1800. I do not know of a single person who has actually researched the issue who holds a position that there is any connection at all between County Cavan ( or the city of Cavan) and the various persons in the New World of the names Caven (s) and Cavin (s). I find a significant division between a handful or early Americans who used and were identified by Cavan consistently, and the rest who used and were identified by Caven or Cavin, often interchangeability and in the same document, and for whom a record using Cavan is a singularity. One example of the first is John Cavan, a lawyer, legislator, and sometime justice of the peace who lived in Kentucky, and evidently died without issue. An example of the latter is John Caven/Cavin who was a member of the Cumberland County (Pennsylavnia) Militia during the revolutionary War, and appears on muster rolls as Caven, Cavin, and Cavan.
Copyright by Clark Cavin Seattle WASH. DC