Another mystery: Walter Ivens / Walter Ivin b.1846

Genealogy can be so frustrating!

This time, I have a young Walter Ivin, b.1847, who was brought up in Quenington, Gloucestershire. Quenington is quite close to Cirencester, Coln St Alwyn and Bibury on the southern edge of the Cotswold Hills.

Walter was the son of James Ivin and Sarah (nee Coppen) of Quenington, and his dad was a (stone)mason. I know this to be true because he is visible in both the 1851 aged 4, and 1861 census aged 14. I also have his baptism record.

But, in the 1861 census there is also a Walter Ivens, aged 15, who is at school in Tottenham, London. Not just anywhere in Tottenham, but in Lordship Lane, Tottenham. Furthermore, this Walter is listed as being born in Portugal, but of British nationality. That’s not uncommon in this family, since some of William Ivens’ (of Swinbrook) descendants were born in the Azores.

Meanwhile, in 1869, young Walter is now a gardener aged 22 and is getting married to Ellen Newman, the daughter of a greengrocer. Walter’s dad is at the marriage ceremony listed as ‘James Ivin, mason’.

What’s the problem?

They are getting married in Tottenham London. Not just anywhere in Tottenham, but in Lordship Lane, Tottenham.

Coincidence? Almost certainly.

Walter, the schoolboy, is probably Walter Howard Ivens, son of Arthur Hickling Ivens, and therefore grandson of William Ivens of Swinbrook, so no great mystery there. He’s destined to eventually die in Valencia, Spain aged just 28.

But where are Walter Ivin and his wife Ellen in any subsequent census? Did they stay in London or head back to Gloucestershire? A popular destination for gardeners at that time was Kent – the garden of England. Maybe they went that way.

Or maybe they emigrated.

And that’s where I find Walter and Ellen. In 1880, in dwelling 117 in Harmon, Lee, Illinois, USA where Walter and Ellen Ivin lived with their 5 children Anna 11, Sarah (Sadie) 8, Walter 5, Alice 3 and Arthur 1. Effie arrived in 1891. Walter was listed as a farmer.

Walter died in 1920 and is buried in Oakwood cemetery, Dixon, Lee County, Illinois, United States of America.

Ellen Naomi Ivin (nee Newman) died in 1931 and is buried in the same Cemetery.

3 responses to “Another mystery: Walter Ivens / Walter Ivin b.1846

  1. Hi David… I think that Walter Ivens was my Grandmother’s Brother – she was Esther Ivens, (twin) sister of Beatrice Ivens and one of 10. As far as I know, some of the family were in Lisbon, some in London and some in the Azores, being fruit importers. My limited understanding is that their father was Portuguese (there is a Ruera Ivens in Lisbon) whilst their mother was Spanish. Mum’s cousin (Eric Ivens of Balham, South London) had a son, Anthony Ivens who has (I think) some family information. I’ve just started looking into this as I have a vague recollection of a connection in Warwickshire and our daughter is just buying a property in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire… it seems like she’s gone full circle!


    • Welcome Robert, and I’m delighted to hear from you. I too have returned to the ancestral home having moved to a place near Shipston on Stour. I pass Wellesbourne frequently on my travels around the area.
      Warwickshire is indeed one of the main homes of the Ivens family with the earliest records showing Harbury as an important location in the 16th century. The family seem to have spread out from there and my own branch settled in Swinbrook in Oxfordshire having dropped down from Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. It is one of these, one William Ivens, who set off to the Azores and hence the Portuguese connection.
      As for Beartrice and Esther, my records show that Esther married Frank Wray on October 1st, 1921. Her sister Beartrice married Arthur Lyon Paul. Their father was Oswald Burnett Ivens, son of Arthur Hickling Ivens and grandson of the William Ivens in Swinbrook that I referred to earlier, but Oswald died from Cholera before the twins were born. I have a photo of the young twins should you be interested.
      Oswald – the twins father – had a brother Walter Howard Ivens (b.1845) who died in Vallencia, Spain as noted in my article. But I have no record of a son called Walter (i.e. a brother to Esther and Beartrice). That family consisted of Arthur Quillez (1873-1945); John Quillez Ivens (b.1875); Oswald Joseph Ivens (b.1877); Thomas Burnett Ivens (b.1879); Joseph Ivens (b.1883); Beartrice and Esther (b.1884); and George Frederick Yule (b. Christmas Day 1885).
      So, if you have any information which could shed light on this I would be most interested.
      By the by, the Rua Ivens in Lisbon is to herald the famous Portuguese explorer Roberto Ivens – a direct descendant of William Ivens of Swinbrook. There’s an article about Roberto on the Blog.
      So far, having studied this family for many years, I have yet to connect the Swinbrook family with the Warwickshire family. But I’m convinced they connect somewhere.
      The Walter in this story (back to the Blog) is resolved by having found Walter and Ellen Ivin in Illinois, USA in 1880 census with 5 children and living as a farmer, which reminds me that I must update the article.
      That’s the thing with this hobby – it is always changing as new information come to light.
      If I can help with your research in any way, just let me know ( I have Anthony and Eric logged but have no further information to connect them to any other part of the family … yet.
      Happy Hunting!


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