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Canavan is a surname of Irish with two possible translations, both Anglicized:

1. "White Head" from O'Ceanndubhain Sept who were hereditary physicians to the O'Flahertys of Connemara. Whitehead and Whitelock are sometimes used in Galway. Spelling variations include: Canovan, O'Canavan, Canaman, Kinevan, Kinavan, Kanavan, O'Kennevain.

2. "Black Head" from uiCeanndubhain - descendant of the dark haired one. a byname meaning ‘little black-headed one’, from ceann ‘head’ + dubh ‘black’ + the diminutive suffix -án.[1][2][3][4]

People with the surname[edit]

Titanic sinking[edit]

Two Canavans died during the Titanic disaster, Patrick Canavan and Mary Canavan, both of County Mayo.[5]


  1. ^ Surnames of the United Kingdom, A Concise Etymological Dictionary; Henry Harrison; Vol.1 & 2.; The Eaton Press, 190 Ebury Street, London, S.W; 1912.
  2. ^ Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])

See also[edit]

External links[edit]