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Oliver Family History

Oliver Name Meaning

English (northern) southern Scottish southern French and German: from the Old French personal name Oliver (modern French Olivier). This became common largely through the influence of the immensely popular narrative poem Chanson de Roland in which the warrior Oliver is the wise best friend of the doomed hero Roland. The two men were peers at the court of Charlemagne and the name is probably of ancient Germanic origin. The name ostensibly means ‘olive tree’ (see Oliveira ) but this is almost certainly the result of folk etymology working on an unidentified ancient Germanic personal name perhaps a cognate of Alvaro . Old Norse Óláf (see Olliff ) and ancient Germanic Alfhari (composed of the elements alf ‘elf’ and hari ‘army’) have also been suggested as sources but both personal names are difficult to explain phonetically especially the latter. The Anglo-Norman name has been established in Ireland (Louth) since at least the 14th century and was reinforced in Ulster and Limerick by migrants from England in the 17th century. The surname is also borne by Jews apparently as an adoption of the non-Jewish surname. Catalan: generally a topographic name from oliver ‘olive tree’ but in some instances possibly related to a homonymous personal name (see 1 above).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Olivero, Olive, Lier, Oliva, Olivera, Lever, Oliger, Oliviero, Plier

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Where is the Oliver family from?

You can see how Oliver families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Oliver family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Oliver families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 2,671 Oliver families living in London. This was about 13% of all the recorded Oliver's in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of Oliver families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Oliver surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Oliver ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Oliver. 7% of Oliver men worked as a General Labourer and 66% of Oliver women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Oliver were Bricklayer and Incapacitated. .

View Census Data for Oliver | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Builders Labourer
  • Farmer
  • Bricklayer

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Unpaid Domestic
  • Housewife
  • Incapacitated
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Oliver family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 934,000 census records available for the last name Oliver. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Oliver census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Oliver

Passenger Lists

There are 88,000 immigration records available for the last name Oliver. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 141,000 military records available for the last name Oliver. For the veterans among your Oliver ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Oliver lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Oliver life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Oliver in 1940 was 45, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Oliver

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