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The Lavin surname is found in many parts of the world today, including Ireland, Britain, U.S., Canada, Spain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay and other countries. Recorded in many spellings due to languages spoken, including Laffin, Laffan, Lavine, Lavins, Lavan, Laven, Laevens, LaVigne, and Lavigne, ancestry is usually traced to France, Western Ireland, or Northern Spain. At this time, it is apparent that there are at least two separate Lavin lines since two haplogroups have been identified. Surnames did not start to come into use until the 10th century or later, and were usually chosen based on occupation or place names.

O'Lamhain (Gaelic), O’Laimhin,  O'Lavien,  Lavin, Lavan and Laven are variations in Ireland. The ancient pre 10th century Gaelic translates as ‘the descendant of the son of the prince.’  Descendants still live in the ancient territories affiliated with the MacDermott Roe clan of Western Ireland (Co Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim), while others have emigrated to Canada, Sweden and the United States. Nearly all descendants continue worship in the Roman Catholic Church, with some becoming priests or nuns.

If the surname Lavin is of French origin, the name is occupational and residential , describing the ownership or planting of a vineyard (La Vin, La Vigne, Lavigne, Desvignes, Delavigne), the surname being prevalent in those areas associated with wine such as Bordeaux, in the Gironde, Loire, Aquitaine, Burgundy, and Lyons. Although most continue worship in the Roman Catholic Church, some of French descent fled persecution by King Louis XIV (1643-1714) as protestant Huguenots to England (Frances Lavin, daughter of Daniel Lavin, christened in Westminster in 1683; Catherine La Vigne christened at Threadneedle St. Huguenot church in London in 1691). Our 'Lavigne' project member continued their Roman Catholic heritage and emigrated to Quebec, Canada in 1648.

In ancient Cantabria in Northern Spain, the town of Lavin, and recorded lineage dating to 1248, confirm Lavin/ Laban families living in this mountainous region prior to the 12th century. Descendents still live in this region, and the Cantabrian port of Santander, while others have emigrated to Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, the United States, or other areas. Most descendants continue worship in the Roman Catholic Church.

Our Y-DNA tested 'Laevens' surname with unknown ancestry, resulted in haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1a4, very close to one of the Irish results R1b1a2a1a1b4. Also the Jose Lavin family from Cantabria, Spain is even closer as R1b1a21a1b.  However, the SNP shorthand is still distinct (R-L48, R-L312, R-L21) for these three close results. Other 'R' haplogroup members include France, Germany and Spain, which would be expected from the ‘R’ haplogroup which aligns closer to the Atlantic Modal Type.

However, unexpected are the Y-DNA-tested Lavins with ancestors from Ireland, which so far has resulted in the predominant haplogroup of  J2 . Although the same surname is often comprised of different haplogroups, it can prove or disprove the ancestry of people sharing the same last name, as well as link specific individuals to a common ancestor. However, if two individuals come from different haplogroups, then they are not related genetically, (at least through this all-male patrilineal line) - even though they may have lived together in the same areas for hundreds of years.  This is because a Y-DNA haplogroup is a group of individuals who share a common ancestor through the direct paternal line. They are distinguished from each other by the presence of certain mutations on the Y-chromosome of male members of the group. Y-DNA samples are tested at different data points, called loci or markers, for repeats at each of those locations, known as STRs (short Tandem Repeats) - the number of times a pattern is repeated at one of those markers is referred to by geneticists as the alleles of a marker. See 'Y-results' at link above.

It is important to understand that these Y-haplogroups (which is the direct paternal line only) represent ancient migrations that occurred tens of thousands of years ago, eventually settling into Europe. These are your 'roots' genetically speaking.  It does not represent the extended families more recent history of hundreds of years within Ireland or Cantabria or France where our ancestors lived – these generations were culturally and linguistically very ‘Irish’, or very ‘French’, or very ‘Cantabrian’. It also does not take into account the many other genetic lines of heritage that comprise our individual characteristics.

The present-day population of haplogroup R1b in Western Europe are believed to be descendants of a refugium in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) during the last Ice Age. As conditions eased, descendants of this group migrated and eventually recolonized all of Western Europe, leading to the dominant position of R1b from Iberia to Scandinavia. R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, with over 90% of the population in some parts of western France, Northern Spain or Ireland. This is often associated with Celtic peoples - such as Irish, Scots, Welsh and Cornish. The sub-clade R1b1b2 is divided into many defining mutations, including  Celts, Basque, Gascon, Catalan, Breton, Frisian, Lombard, Swabian and Germanic peoples.

The haplogroup J2 originated in Mesopotamia, and related to the ancient Etruscans, Minoan Greeks, southern Anatolians, Phoenicians, Assyrians and Babylonians. Later spreading into Europe through the Mediterranean by ancient Greeks and Phoenicians (Levantines), J2 is common in the Balkans, southern France, southern Spain, southern/ central Italy, and Greece. A significant fraction (29%) of Sephardic Jews are also J2, although they are a minority of the larger haplogroup. Phoenicians  traded with Celtiberians in northern Spain from the Bay of Biscay, and it was the Phoenicians who were the earliest vine-growing settlers to reach the Rioja region in the 11th century BC, traveling up the Ebro river and started the winemaking tradition of the renown Rioja wine. The region was conquered by the Romans in early 2nd century BC, who had treaties with the local Celtiberian and Vascon tribes, and established vineyards at settlements near Calahorra and Logrono. It is theorized that when the Romans settled in Bordeaux, they took plant cuttings from the ancient vine 'Balisca', originating in Rioja vineyards, which may have been the ancestor of the Cabernet family.

(link on 'Patriarchs' to view the Lavin Pedigrees posted; link on 'Y-Results' to see the DNA results of participants).

Northern Spain:

The peoples who populated the rugged landscape of Northern Spain included the earliest Europeans who left the extensive Altamira cave paintings near Burgos, followed by the independent Cantabric tribes of the Iron Age , then the Celts in 1000 BC. Celts brought their skills as potters, mingling with the local tribes of planters and herdsmen to become 'Celtiberians.' Evidence of these early communities, principally the huddles of circular stone buildings (castros) can be seen mainly in Galacia. They traded with Phoenicians who imported tin, and mined minerals since early times. They ferociously defended their land and way of life against the many invaders of Spain's history (Romans, Alans, Goths, Huns, Suebi, Vandals and Visigoths). Even the Normans invaded the coast in AD 842-50, and the British invaded Galacia in AD 1386.

The oldest records so far are found in the remote autonomous province of Cantabria, in northern Spain. The Montes de Pas were populated about 1011AD, when Sancho, Count of Castile, granted the Monastery of San Salvador at Ona (Burgos) a privilege allowing herders in its extensive domains to pasture animals there (giving the rights of grass in a very wide area covering almost the entire Cantabrian area) - it was a territory qualified as "brave mountains and deserted." Gradual and for centuries these 'Pasiegos' (as the Montes inhabitants came to be known) depended in civil and religious matters on established centers in the territory of Espinosa de Monteros. The early lineage of Lavin is recorded in the Expedientes de Hidalguia (records used to prove the noble origin of a family). The earliest ancestor mentioned was Ingio Lavin de Rojas who served King Fernando III 'the Saint' in the taking of Seville (1248) from the Moors.

In the remote mountainous region of Cantabria, there are still remnants of the small town of Lavin in the Soba Valley. On the  'Cantabria Joven' website the Pueblos of Sobo include Lavin with three photos and this description "From the road to Lavin we can take pleasure in magnificent vistas around towns such as Quintana, Valcaba & Canedo. In this small village was a hermitage dedicated to St. San Francisco. Anciently there also existed various mills that have preserved the name 'Mill of the Pena' with a family shield of Sanchez de la Vega. In a largely restored house with large thick walls, and arch of medium height, appears a shield of the family Trapaga, another important lineage in Soba."

According to archival documents, 'the lineage of Lavin in Spain is traced to Lavin Santa Maria, in the judicial district of Laredo, province of Cantabria (Historic Laredo was one of the major commercial ports of the Middle Ages and host to pilgrims coming to Santiago de Compostela, who entered by sea. Here also begins the famous road of Castile, the starting point of kings, merchants, travelers).  'They spread to other parts of the mountain in that region and founded several houses where the men repeatedly tested their nobility in the Royal Chancery of Valladolid. This surname is pasiego Soba, and had a great influence and expansion of the mountain pasiegueria, especially Espinosa de los Monteros (Burgos). The ancestral home of Lavin is based on the town of San Roque de Riomiera (north of Burgos). Early lineage shows Inigo Lavin de Rojas, the father of Sancho Lavin Iniguez, attended the wars with Spain and the Mountain People of the Vizcaya, serving King of Castile and Leon, Fernando III ('The Saint') 1198-1252, in the taking of Seville (1248) and Baeza. Montero de Simon Lavin, was captain of men in arms in the time of King Henry IV, and his son, Ramon de Lavin, served the Catholic Monarchs in the conquest of Granada (1492). Gil Ruiz Lavin went to the discovery of America, settling in Santa Fe de Bogota. Many other Lavins are recorded in military history, including volunteers rooted in Cuba, like Jean Lavin Pablos in 1883.

The Royal Chancery of Valladolid has indexed thousands of surnames. SCROLL DOWN to LAVIN at translated spanish website for history and shields (one with 'fleur-de-lis') at

"According to D. Ovando Pedro de Mendoza and D. Tomas Ramirez Monleón, this lineage comes from the village of St. Mary Lavin and Lavin (whose name he took), the judicial district of Laredo, in the province of Cantabria. It spread to other parts of the Mountain of the region, founding several houses, whose knights repeatedly proved his nobility in the Royal Chancery of Valladolid.

María del Carmen González and Gonzalo Garcia Echegaray of Pedrosa in their joint work "Dictionary of Surnames and Coats of Cantabria" say: Although previously commented assign the origin, this name is clearly pasiego as Soba was greatly influenced and pasieguería mountain expansion, especially of Espinosa de los Monteros (Burgos). It also ensures that almost all belonging to this name come from the primitive houses of San Roque de Rio Miera, and there are several records in the Royal Chancery Hidalguía Valladolid confirming this version as we shall see.

Old men of this lineage, Inigo Lavín de Rojas, father of Sancho Íñiguez Lavin attended Andalusia wars with mountain people and Vizcaya, serving King D. Fernando III "The Saint" in the footage and Baeza Sevilla. For this reason the bordure added to his coat of arms, as will be seen in place.

Simon Lavin Montero, was Captain of fighting men in time of King Henry IV, and his son Ramon Lavin, served the Catholic Monarchs in the conquest of Granada.

Gil Ruiz de Lavin spent the discovery of America, settling in Santa Fe de Bogota. Ms. Ana Maria married Santa Cruz and Llovera.

Solar house Lavin, based in the town of San Roque de Riomiera, the judicial district of Middle Cudeyo (Cantabria), was: Alonso Lavin, married to Ms. Magdalena Cobo, the mother did: Pedro Garcia Lavin, baptized in San Roque de Riomiera the March 26, 1621, he married Mrs. Isabel Marañón, and were parents of: John Lavin and Marañón, baptized in the same village on September 24, 1645, who married two times: The first, with Mrs. Frances Crespo, on April 13, 1670, and the second, with Mrs. Magdalena Ruiz Marañón. The first link was born: John Lavin and Crespo, below, and the second marriage was son Miguel Ruiz Lavin and Marañón, dubbed Riomiera San Roque in the May 15, 1686, was Ceceñas neighbor, in the judicial Middle Cudeyo, and March 4, 1723 received Royal Hidalguía provision in the Royal Chancery of Valladolid.

John Lavin and Crespo, baptized in San Roque de Riomiera the February 14, 1671, married on June 26, 1695 with Ms. Maria Gutierrez, the mother did: Joaquín Lavín and Gutiérrez, Espinosa baptized in the Monteros (Burgos), on October 2, 1711. On September 6, 1738 was united in marriage with Mrs. Maria Perez Maranon. From this union were born: 1., Juan Manuel Lavin and Perez Maranon, baptized in Liérganes (Cantabria), on June 25, 1741, 2 º., Tomás Antonio de Lavin and Perez Marañón, dubbed Lierganes the September 20, 1744 , 3rd., Jose Manuel Perez Lavin and Marañón, baptized in the same village on 16 October 1746 and 4th., Lavin and Josefa Perez Maranon, baptized on November 13, 1748.These brothers represented by his mother, won Hidalguía Real provision in the Chancery of Valladolid on 20 February 1755.

Also came from solar Lavín of San Roque de Riomiera: John Lavin, a resident of that town, which was taxed as hijodalgo on the rolls of 1694 and 1703, working as such the office of Mayor of the Holy Brotherhood nobleman state . He married Mrs. Catherine Abascal, and were parents of: 1., Sunday Lavin and Abascal, and 2nd., Felipe Lavín and Abascal, baptized in San Roque de Riomiera on February 21, 1669, appeared registered as hijodalgo in the censuses of 1694, 1703 and 1706, the last year practicing in the office of Mayor. The June 15, 1692, Ms. Magdalena married Abascal (daughter of Andrew and Ms. María Abascal Abascal) contained hijadalgo enumerated as in 1716 and 1722.

Other Hidalguía Records that are in the Chancery of Valladolid, are: D. Lavin Bernardo San Miguel de Aras, Ruesga originating in 1782, Pedro Antonio de Lavin Cantolla, Riano, in 1777; D. Lavin Juan Fernandez de Miera, in 1736; D. Angelo Pellón Lavín of Ampuero, in 1725; D. Lavin Carlos Perez of Suesa, in 1742; D. José Lavín Perez, Tezanos, in 1832 and D. Lavin and Jose Ruiz, of Soba, in 1786."

There is a long list of illustrious pasiegos with noble lineages and Coat-of-Arms recorded at Valladolid. The Kings chose from among the 3 villas Pasiegas for their 'Monteros Espinosa Royal' (Vega, San Pedro, San Roque). The territorial expansion of the Christian kingdom (the Reconquest) in which Castilian warriors played the leading role from about the mid-10th century, also carried the Castilian dialect south from northern Spain. However, many French and Provincal words became part of Castilian throughout the Middle Ages, due to the presence of French Quarters in many Castilian towns, and the movement from the 10th century of vast numbers of French pilgrims across northern Spain to worship at the shrine of St James in Compostela in Galacia. In the 13th century, the knights who participated in the reconquest received numerous assignments in the form of land, rights, fiscal and legal systems. Even with the reconquest stalled until the 15th century, the dynastic wars of the Kingdom of Castile favored such assignments for men to support the cause.

The LAVIN surname is Spain is related by marriage to other Castilian Hidalguia (noble lineage) of the Middle Ages - notably COBO(S), ASBASCAL, BARQUIN, INIGUEZ, CRESPO, RUIZ, MARANON, PEREZ, SAMPERIO, SETIEN, SAIZ, SAINZ, ARCE, BARANDA, NIETO, GUITIERREZ and others. Some of these surnames were used by Sephardic Jews, or was assigned to Sephardim Jews by the La Santo Oficio de la Inquisicion. Those not forced to flee their ancestral home of centuries (Jews lived in Spain for 1000 years before the Expulsion) not surprisingly became 'conversos', entering the service of the R.C. Church in unprecedented numbers. Entire monastic orders, like the important one of San Jeronimo, became virtual converso enclaves. Conversos soon gained positions of importance in late medieval Spanish society, becoming bishops, archbishops, theologians, poets, authors, and officials of the Crown. Christopher Columbus was perhaps a converso, and St Teresa of Avila was of converso origin, as well as great families of Spanish nobility including King Fernando himself.

The noble lineage of Alfonso Cobos, of Ona, Burgos fought with King Jame I of Aragon in the conquest of Murcia, and inherited lands in Palencia, Sax, Bulgarra that still retain the Cobo name. His pasiego descendant Francisco Gomez Cobo emigrated to France and developed factories producing wafers, waffles and cookies - his descendants now run the multinational MIKO.

The medieval history of Burgos is closely related to Castilian history, the city founded in 884 was a protective castle and fortress of Christian repopulation, bordering the frontier with Islam in the 9th-10th centuries. In the 11th century, Burgos became a bustling commerce center and remained the most important distribution center for international and regional trade in northern Castile for centuries. This development was influenced by the pilgrimage to Compostela - Burgos, as one of the main stops on the road, benefitted from the pilgrimage trade and from the settlement within its walls of numerous foreign merchants. The Jewish and Moorish quarters were located in the northwestern end of the city. These groups were important components of the population and participated actively in the city's economic activity, which was dominated by agriculture and craftsmanship. Throughout the 12th century, foreign and native-born merchant families intermarried, and by the 13th century these mercantile groups became entrenched and powerful elite. Deriving their income from long distance trade - mostly the import of woolen cloth  from Flanders - they began to monopolize municipal offices. By the late 15th century they appeared prominently in Flemish circles. Castilian warriors played the leading role from about mid-10th century in the territorial expansion of the Christian kingdom (the Reconquest). There were French quarters in many Castilian towns and from the 10th century vast numbers of French pilgrims, to worship at the shrine of St James in Compostela (Galacia). The ancient Catholic pilgrim route of Santiago de Compostela, 500 miles across northern Spain, from the tiny Basque village of Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to the town of Santiago de Compostela in Galacia, is again a popular pilgrimage today. Merchants set up their stalls along the route and a census in Jaca in AD 1137 reveals 78 percent of the town's population was French. The church hierarchy also became dominated by the French with French monastic outposts (Leyre, Sahagun). Church and crusaders were united in the 12th Century under Spain's first military religious orders, the Knights of Santiago, Alcantara and Calatraca, and in AD 1212 the northern kingdom's decisive battle with the Moors was fought.

Quarrels occurred between Northern Spain and its French neighbors, with whom it was so closely allied that rulers commonly held lands on both sides of the Pyrenees. Marriages also linked houses on both sides of the Pyrenees. Alfonso VIII married Eleonor of Aquitaine (daughter of Henry II of England). The Duchy of Portugal, including Galacia, came under Burgundian rule in 1095. The great Burgundian abbey at Cluny became the champion of Santiago

There was much French influence in northern Spain, therefore, it is possible that the Lavin surname might be French in origin (LaVin, Lavigne, Delavigne).  Possibly Celts from Gaul crossing the Pyrenees into northern Spain during the Roman invasion, or possibly Normans. According to author/researcher Patrick Lavin, there is a colony of Lavins near Nantes, France. (Bordeaux is just south of Nantes). They too are farmers and live in a nucleic community like those in Cantabria and Connaught.


The Gaelic origin of the surname Lavin, according to Edward MacLysagh, is O'LAMHAIN, a modern form of the original name of O'FLAITHIMHIN, meaning 'lord or ruler', some researchers claim as a descendant of Cormac. The prefix 'O' literally signifies a grandson, and 'Mac' a son.  The most influential and numerous of these was established in Co Roscommon. Of Sil-Murray stock (long the ruling race in Connacht), they traced their descent from Muireadhach Muilleathan, King of Connacht. Allies of the McDermot princes, the settled in the north of the country in the plains of Boyle. When the McDermots split into three septs at the beginning of the 14th century, the Lavins followed the Roe or Red branch, settling to the south in Kilronan in Co Galway.

Another Connacht family of the name, in ancient times controlled a considerable portion of the present barony of Tirawley in northern Mayo Co. Of Ui Fiachrach lineage, they stemmed from Fiachra, the son of Eochaidh Muighmheadhoin, King of Ireland in the 4th century. As a result of upheavals caused by the Anglo-Norman invasion around the year 1200, a number of leading members of the sept dispersed to the Munster counties of Cork, Waterford and Kerry. However, today the majority of the descendants of this sept and the Sil-Murray one, reside in or near their ancestral homelands in Mayo and Roscommon. The Irish Annals contained many references to Lavin chiefs, particularly to a number of 16th century ones who played an important part in resisting English aggression during the Elizabethan wars. In the next century, they were supporters of James II and served with distinction as officers in his Irish Army.'

Historically, the Lavin surname can be found back to about 1500 in Ireland, on the remote western coast in the province of Connacht, relating to the MacDermot Roe clan and territory. It is believed that the Lavin surname prior to 1749 started around Kilmovee, Co Mayo - and spread eastwards throughout Co Roscommon, and then Co Sligo. Although the Lavins were farmers for generations, local historians have stated that prior to being farmers or farm laborers, the Lavins were 'coopers' from at least the mid 1600s to the early 1700s and they were describedas 'being good with their hands.' These craftsmen easily adapted to working the land. Most of these Lavins stayed in Ireland or immigrated to Britain, Canada, or the United States.

The MacDermot Roe trace their powerful Clan back to Dermot, King of Moylurg and Prince of Coolavin (1124-1159). They are a 'Milesian' family, which means that the family descends from Milesius of Spain, the leader of the Gaelic Celts in what is now the Spanish province of Galacia. Milesius' sons invaded Ireland in the 2nd millenium before Christ. Two of them, Heremon and Heber became the first Gaelic kings of Ireland. This descent is set forth in John O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees. A later migration took place when Milesians fled Roman incursions into Iberia and Gaul. The Lavin sept is uniquely identified by genealogists as 'followers of MacDermot Roe" in the 16th century, who inhabited the rugged terrain of Tir-Tuathail in northeastern Roscommon. This project hopes to determine if the Lavins are also Milesian, and 'followed' the MacDermot Clan leaders from Spain to Ireland, or if this designation came about after the Battle of Kinsale.

Author Patrick Lavin states that 'a plausible origin is that some Lavins immigrated to Ireland from Spain sometime between the adoption of surnames in the 12th century, and their appearance in Ireland in the 16th century. Over the centuries there was a regular trade route between northern Spain and the west coast of Ireland, particularly with Galway. It is reasonable to assume that some Gaelic Celts from northern Spain (Galacia, Cantabria) stayed in Ireland. A colony of Lavins have been living in the autonomous province of Cantabria since at least the 11th century. They belong to a separate ethnological group called Pasiegos, who identify with a Celtic heritage, often with fair complexion, blue or green eyes, brown hair.' They traditionally live in stone houses on green pastureland, where their cattle are moved seasonally within remote and steep mountainous valleys, and who have remained within the same province for centuries, independent and self-sufficient. Lavins today can still be found in the Soba Valley, but some moved to the ancient port city of Santander, or immigrated to Spanish dominions in Central, South America and Cuba, or to the United States in the 1800s.

Acknowledgement of a more ancient connection between Ireland and Spain is found in part of a letter sent to the King of Spain by O' Sullivan Beare in 1601 : "... We the mere Irish , long sinthence deriving our roote and originall from the famous and most noble race of Spaniards, viz, from Milecius, sonne to Lythy, sonne to Breogwin, by the testimony of our old ancient books of antiquities, our petigrees, our histories, and our cronicles..."

We also hope to find more ancient Lavin records in Ireland if they exist. At present, the earliest reference  to Lavin in Ireland is in the Annals of Lough Ce, when a Domhnall O'Laimhin (Donal Lavin) was killed in 1551 at the Battle of Munhinoghter near Boyle, between MacDermots and MacCostellos. The second Lavin account was that of Maghnus McCormac McDomhnall Mael O'Laimhin (Maghnus Lavin), possibly the grandson of Donal, was killed in 1567 by treachery on the Mollog. He is described as a servant to Rory MacDermot, King of Moylurg (1549-68), during one of the many unrelenting MacDermot tribal clashes.

Some Irish clans supported the rebellion, and some supported the English, if it was in their interests. One Lavin is recorded as supporting the Irish rebellion against English rule, and probably accompanied O'Neil on his march south to Kinsale. It was recorded in the 'Pacata Hibernia' that Edmund O'Lavien - 'a Connaught man' - after the December 24, 1601 defeat of the Irish and their Spanish allies on the Cork coast at the Battle of Kinsale - was among the Irish soldiers who along with retreating Spanish forces, who sailed for Spain from Kinsale, with Don Juan de Aquilla in March of 1601AD. There were about 74 Irish on this ship, and they are listed in the Pacata Hibernia by name. Also listed were Hugh Lacy, Walter Ley of Kilkenny, Richard Stacboll, and Master FitzJames - listed as 'these came out of Spain with Don Juan and returned with him.' Other ships from different ports, and their Irish passengers to Spain on various dates, are also listed. Due to this voluntary 'banishment' of Irish rebels to northwestern Spain (Galacia is still very Celtic), Nantes, France, and the Amazon, descendants of those exiled can still be found there. Since the rebels would be 'outlaws' in their own land, Edmond and the others would have probably remained in the service of King Philip of Spain. Other 'Wild Geese' served as officers in the service of the armies of Spain and France, including some MacDermots. Perhaps some descendants returned to Ireland in the 18th century, when the Lavin surname reappeared in Ireland.

The MacDermots made a wise choice. First they supported the rebellion. Then once all hope for a victory is lost, the decision to go with Cliford and the English was a very prudent and courageous one. After defeat at Kinsale, young Conor MacDermot Roe submitted a petition to the new English king, James I, for a surrender and re-grant of certain MacDermot Roe lands in Kilronan Parish. The petition was granted in 1605, thus Conor and his descendants now held the title under English rule. This included property in Tir Tuathail, and included iron rich portions of Kilronan which were the basis for the MacDermot Roe ironworks. Since the Lavins are designated as 'followers of MacDermot Roe' in the 16th century, it is logical to assume they also supported the surrender and re-grant, and so remained in this territory up to the present day.

The remaining Irish rebels and their families fared far worse. Even prior to the 'Proclamation of 1625', they were transported overseas and sold as slaves to English planters who were settling the islands of the West Indies and Caribbean (Guiana, Antigua, Montserrat, St Kitts, Nevis, St Christopher, Barbados, Jamaica) and later to the American colonies (Virginia, New England, South Carolina), along with black slaves. By 1652, estimates from 80,000-130,000 Irish men, women and children were sold in the profitable slave market, to labor in England's expanding empire. Most died on the ships transporting them, or from the tropical heat, disease, abuse, torture, and overwork in the sugar plantations. Those that survived are listed with Irish names in telephone directories of the West Indies. Then in 1657. Cromwell ordered all Irish to be removed from their own lands, and relocated west of the Shannon, or be transported to the West Indies (the infamous 'to Connaught or Hell' Proclamation).

For additional Irish research, please check the Irish National Archives at



Researcher Bernard Lavin has also found a significant number of Lavins living in Sweden. 'Historically, the Vikings played a major roll in pre-12th Century Ireland. Even the Norse King Olaf Guthfrithson was based in Ireland up to Lammas ( August 1) 937 prior to his involvement in the Battle of Brunanburgh in mainland England. Viking Trading routes ran throughout the civilised world, including Spain. The 9th Century also saw Norse raids on the coast of northern Spain. Perhaps only the frequency of the M17 haplotype marker will solve this conundrum.'

We hope to explore some of the possibilities of common ancestry during turbulent history, and movement of families, by means of genealogical data from Lavin pedigrees, and by Lavin DNA research. Most of us are still researching our more immediate families of the 1600-1800s, so hopefully we can help each other through the Forum, and other accumulated data that we hope to add to this site.

All Lavin families are welcome, and encouraged to post their known pedigree, as well as contributing to the Y-DNA project (there is a discount if you order under this Lavin Project), and discussing Lavin history or information on the Forum.  If you have ancestors from Northern Spain, we are especially anxious to have you join this Project and take the simple Y-DNA test. We would like to coordinate the results of Irish Lavins to Spanish and French Lavins.


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