The Irish surname Shovlin is an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic O'Seibhleain. It is of patronymic origin, derived from the first name of the father of the initial bearer. In this instance, the name denotes "son of Seibhleain," the personal name Seibhleain being derived from "sibhal" meaning "swift." The principal sept of O'Seibhleain was located in Offaly and was of considerable importance there prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1172. The O'Seibhleains would have been considered a sept of the powerful O'Dempsey cland whose chief was known as the Lord of Offaly. However, their descendants are no longer found in that part of the country. There was also an Ui Fiarchrach sept of the name in Mayo where the name is still extant. It has a long standing association with Co. Donegal where two people by this name were the followers of Hugh O'Donnell in 1601 - the spelling of the name in that Fiant is O'Syvelane, and O'Shovelin in in the Hearth Money Rolls for that county in 1665. It is also in those of Co. Donegal. Thirty years earlier, we find it as O'Shevelan in a Co. Fermanagh Inquisition. However, the majority of Shevlins and Shevlans of modern times are located in the Oriel county, particularly around Carrickmacross in Co. Monaghan where it was well established in the seventeenth century. It appears in the co. Monaghan Hearth Money Rolls of 1663-65 as O'Shevlin, O'Shevlan and O'Shavlan and as Shevelin in a list of recruits to Lord Blayney's company of Col. Thomas Dongan's regiment in 1670, mostly from Co. Monaghan. Present day forms are Shevlan, Shevlane, Shevlin, Shovlin and Shovelin. The prefix O, dropped during the period of Gaelic and Catholic submergence, has not been resumed. The blazon of arms decribed below is associated with the name or a variant.

Blazon of Arms: Gules, a lion rampant argent armed and langued azure between two swords, points upwards of the second, pommels and hilts or, one in bend dexter, the other in bend ________.

Translation: The lion denotes Courage, Strength and Generosity and the sword is an emblem of Authority and Justice.

Crest: The lion of the arms.

Origin: Ireland

Produced Sept. 11, 1998 by Marilyn Maher of the Historical Research Center.

© 2008, Keith F. Shovlin