Oliver Family History

Oliver Surname

The Oliver Family is going to be an interesting bunch.  I mentioned the Buchanan Estate scam when I posted the Buchanan Family History page.  Well, the Oliver family ties into this as well.  In two ways…one, there are some Buchanan’s that married into the Oliver family.  And two, there was one Oliver person that I know of that claimed it was from the Oliver side that we were related to former President James Buchanan.

In fact, he stole the precious book that was written by one of my greats on the Buchanan side which claims to have explained the relationship.  This book only had limited copies published so it seemed to have been lost forever…until I found it!  Now I have it.  More on that later.

As always, I did a quick search on Ancestry.com to find the origin of the surname Oliver.  Oliver naturally originated on the other side of the pond.  It seems to be English, Scottish, Welsh, or German.

With over 5 million documents on Ancestry.com related to the Oliver line, researching these folks should be a breeze!

Oliver Name Meaning

Oliver Name Meaning

Oliver Name Distribution

Oliver Name Distribution

Interestingly, the Oliver family is almost an exact match to the name distribution of the Buchanan family across the United States.

While it looks like most of them immigrated to the eastern regions of the United States, many immigrated to Texas, Washington, and California as well.

I will be looking forward to finding out where exactly the Oliver line immigrated from and if there was any connection to the Buchanan’s or perhaps that was just happenstance.  I do know that my Oliver line and Buchanan line were good friends growing up…before marrying each other.

I still wonder how our ancestors decided where to immigrate to.  How did they decide where to go?  And was there culture shock?  How different was their new home from where they immigrated from.

Family Origin

Family Origin

My DNA shows that I am 28% Irish which includes Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  I think it’s safe to say I inherited a bit of Oliver blood here as well.

According to Ancestry.com, the great majority of Oliver’s came from England and Ireland with some coming from Great Britain, Scotland, and a select few from Germany and Spain.  This pretty much matches what my DNA results show.

I would love to travel over to the other side of the pond to find the places that my ancestors came from.  I thoroughly enjoy learning about our past and seeing the way our ancestors lived.  I would love to visit the houses they grew up in overseas and walk the same streets that they did.


In an effort to be transparent to our visitors, please understand that we may get small commissions from purchases made through the links in this article. Please review our full disclosure at the very bottom left side of this page.

Oliver Immigration Information

Oliver Immigration Information

It seems the Oliver families immigrated to the United States mostly between 1851 and 1891, just like the Buchanan’s.  Perhaps the Oliver’s were a little later in the game though.

I wonder why there was such a drastic decline in the 1870s?  Maybe things were getting better over where they came from and then took a significant chance for the worse?  Maybe I’ll have to look for those answers.

There are just so many questions!

The biggest spikes seem to be around 1870 and again in 1885ish…just like the Buchanan’s.  I still wonder if something was going on over there in those years that prompted a decision to get out.  I’ll have to look into that further.  Maybe I could at least get a general idea of why they may have left.

Big surprise…most Oliver’s seem to have been farmers.  This is pretty consistent with what I’ve seen in my research so far.

Oliver Family Occupations

Oliver Family Occupations

I’ve found that most wives, prior to the 1900’s, were housekeepers or housewives.  So it’s not surprising to see the 6% in this chart.

I think Farmers and Laborers are pretty typical jobs for the 1800s and early 1900s.  I’ve seen many of each in all lines that I’ve researched so far.

I’ve seen Carpenters in several of them as well.  No real interesting jobs so far but I’ll be on the lookout for something exciting.

I wonder what other interesting occupations I’ll find in my research.

Oliver Members I’ve Researched So Far

Oliver Life Expectancy

Oliver Life Expectancy

Finally, it looks like the Oliver family life expectancy has been pretty close to that of the general public.

It seems as though many lived to see their 70s.

I do find it interesting that life expectancy spiked in the late 50s by over 20 years!  It’s commonly known the technological advances began in the 50s, perhaps this is the reason for the spike.

I think researchers are still trying to pin down the reasons for such differences.  So I will continue focusing on my own ancestors and let the scientists tackle that question.

Not a lot of information just yet on this line as I’ve only researched one person so far.  But, as always, I will come back and update this page as I find more information.  So much to do, so little time!

Oliver Civil War Service Records

Oliver Civil War Service Records

It would be nice to know more about these ancestors.  Where did they come from before Indiana?  Why did they immigrate to the United States?  Are there any notable or famous ancestors in this line?

Have you found Oliver in your family tree yet?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Even if you haven’t, have you found reliable places to research the history of your family name?  I’d love to know where to go to find out facts about surnames that are accurate and can provide some of the history behind the name.  Do share and let us know how you do it.  Just drop a line in the comments below.

That’s all for now, I’ll check back regularly and update this page as I find additional information.

Happy searching!


Search 159.3 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *