One of the main photos (they alternate for this Blog*) is of a group taken in 1888 at Weston Super Mare, Somerset. It depicts two small boys, probably on holiday, with their mother and her parents. Also in attendance are the nurse and the maid standing respectfully at the back. The boys are Harold Thomason Carew Ivens with his younger brother Charles Wilfred Macpherson Ivens and their mother, (far left) Alice Georgina Isabella Ivens (Nee Hutchinson). To the right is Colonel Charles Waterloo Hutchinson, and in the bath chair is his wife, Eliza Montier Hutchinson (nee Hutchinson) known as ‘Memsahib’.
The boys grew up in the world of Empire to survive 2 World Wars. The eldest, Harold, enlisted in the 26 Punjabies, Royal Fusiliers and notably found himself on a train journey in Mesoptamia with T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), eventually retiring to the New Forest with his family of 4 daughters and a son. His younger brother, joined the 76th Battery, Royal Horse Artillery (King’s Troop), based in India, was married in Srinigar, India to the daughter of a famous painter and eventually retired to Angmering, Sussex. Neither ever knew of the internet or mobile telephones and would have marvelled at their capability. Harold died in 1950 so probably never even experienced television.
The point of this photo is that today, some of their granddaughters are now grandmothers. The photos of them as young men are now treasured as family heirlooms. Their lives are summarised in part by official records and part by family memory. But their lives give a fascinating insight to a very different social time.
I have had a long standing interest in the history of the Ivens family, and have been researching it over many years. I now hope to share some of the more interesting aspects with you, but in a digestible way.
It is a complex story with many threads and branches, which makes it easy to be overwhelmed with dates and trees and complicated cousin relationships. In this Blog, I hope to bring you the stories worth recording and passing on – highlighting the famous, the notorious, the amusing, the tragic, and the everyday.
With luck, it will build to be a useful and accessible reference library for the next generation, and the wonderful tales and anecdotes will continue to be passed on down, just as they have been for generations.
But different people need different ‘maps’. Some want the anecdotes, while others need to see the big picture. Then again, others want to see how they fit into the jigsaw. Their own ancestry, if you like. All are valid, but shaping that information is not so easy. That’s why I have now created a large database of ALL UK Ivens records, from all sources, and combined them into some 6500 individuals, tracking their families, siblings, ancestors and descendants.
P.S. The photo above of Roberto is commemorating Roberto Ivens, the noteworthy Portuguese explorer who made significant discoveries in Angola and Madagascar. More of his story elsewhere, but meanwhile, he once featured in a Daily Telegraph GK Crossword.
Roberto is a descendant of William Ivens of Swinbrook, Oxfordshire. [See Post Roberto Ivens]
*The other header image is a montage of photos and portraits covering 7 generations.