Recorded in many forms including Calven, Calvin, Galvin, Gulvin and Kalvin, this very interesting surname can be of either Irish, English, or Norman-French origins. Taking the Irish first, the name in the Gaelic is given as O' Gealbhain, composed of the elements 'geal' meaning bright, and (possibly) 'ban' meaning white. However there is a strong possibility that the could have been a Norman introduction at the time of the Invasion of Ireland in 1170, and in later centuries given a Gaelic form. What is certain is that the surname has been recorded in France in the spellings of Galvaing, Galvin, Galvier, and Galvagnon, from the earliest times.If French then this was a nickname for a person with a receding hair line, or possibly a priest. Early recordings taken from authentic surviving church registers show many developments but do not ultimately prove the origin either way. These recordings taken from various sources in both England and Ireland include: Marye Galvin who was christened at St Johns, Hackney, on December 11th 1617. Peter Gaulvin who married Ann Lee at St Margarets, Westminster on June 1st 1635, Mary Gulvin who married John David on March 5th 1648, at Cranbrook, Kent, Edward Galvan, who was a witness at St. Margarets Lothbury, London, on June 9th 1737, Thomas Galvin of Dingle, County Kerry, in 1797, and William Kalvin, who was christened at St Pauls, Deptford, Kent, on March 5th 1845. The first recorded spelling of the name anywhere in the world may be that of Fergal O' Gealbhain. This was dated 1317, in the register of the battle of Corcomroe Abbey, Ireland, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, 1307 -1327. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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