This page of Olin Family History was gleaned from many sources. If you are a descendant, please consider joining the Olin Family Society. In addition to genealogy the website provides many links of interest including reunions, bibliographies, resources and by-laws.

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The Earliest Olin Ancestor Known

There is an abundance of family oral/written history claiming that the original progenitor of the family was a boy named Llewellyn who was born about 1664 in Wales. Stories vary but all pretty much agree that he came over in 1678 when 14 years old. There are several different accounts that I have listed below so you can see what has been researched and maybe come to your own conclusions. The most common story is that he was pressed onboard an English ship (Man of War) as either a cabin boy or powder monkey. Having been forced to serve on this vessel he took the first opportunity to jump ship in Boston Harbor in 1678. It is said that he lived among the Naragansett Indians for some time and during this period his name changed to John Olin. Family legend claims a connection to Llewellyn the Great. On a plaque positioned over the tomb of Llewellyn the Great is the true Welsh name of Llewellyn "LeOLINus Magnus". Intriguing. But, is this the truth? Or is there more to the story?

John Olin moved on to Rhode Island (East and West Greenwich) and married Susannah Spencer. It has been said that the Spencers and John Olin knew each other in England. The Spencer name is originally French (De Spencer). Please check out the Spencer Family site. It is believed that the Olin name was also French. (Olinville, Rouen, France). Technically the Olin name was probably originally a Swedish name. My opinion is that it is likely that John (Jean) Olin relocated to England then was pressed on board a ship and upon reaching America rewrote his history. If you read Stephen Olin's account on the origins page, you'll see why I am leaning this way. I have attempted to organize the many sources and discussions regarding John Olin's origins, please check it out.

John and Susannah lived peacefully in Rhode Island and had four known children: Joseph, John II, Henry and Eleanor.

My sources

Olin Family Society Resources

Olin Family DAR Entries

Click on the line you'd like to view below:

John Olin and Susannah Spencer

A Swedish Olin

A terrific Olin website

A Waukesha editor recalls the underground railroad

none Reminiscences of the Busy Life of Chauncey C. Olin


Other sites of interest:

Olin Family Society

Olin Family Society Facebook Site

MacGillivray Clan Facebook Site

Spencer Historical and Genealogy Society (SHGS)

SGHS Facebook Site

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Last updated: 11/9/15