About the author

2004-02-29 13.48.08-1David Ivens, or to give me my full name Charles David Hardy Ivens, has been researching this family for over 30 years now. I am now joined on this site by fellow ‘Ivens family’ researcher, Jan Arnold, who holds much personal history of the Warwickshire family.

My family were a family of hoarders, and when my father died I found interesting wooden boxes stuffed full of notes, jottings and photos. Add to that the photo albums, letters, newspaper cuttings and saved official documents – however innocuous, and you end up with a fascinating insight into our past.

Then again, my mother was interested and implored her in laws to write down their memories, (her own family history being largely lost).

The result was an attempt to draw up a family tree. The advantage I had was that I lived in the 20th century with its communication breakthrough in the Internet.

I started with basic searches on the web sites, which revealed more Ivens than I had ever heard about. This lead me to the Warwick Record Office where I discovered scores of Ivens in and around the Warwickshire villages during the early 19th century, and some into the 18th century.

By placing them into a large home-made map of the district, I realised how the various families had evolved. Swinbrook, where my family emanates from, sits just to the south of this region.

I now live in Honington, Warwickshire, close to where the counties of Oxfordshire, David IvensGloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire meet. Warwickshire is the home of the Ivens family. I am surrounded by villages that appear in the records.

Since those early days I have made contact with countless descendants of Ivens around the world, but notably in Portugal, Australia, Canada, and of course around the UK.

Many have supplied half remembered trees looking for connections and ancestors. All these trees have been logged, and as information comes to light the trees start to fit into the bigger picture. It’s like a giant jigsaw.

But I am not alone. There are several Ivens descendants who are equally keen to explore this family, and I have chatted with many, and even met up with a group. The historical family information they hold is quite fascinating. One of the great pleasures this whole project gives is the insight into the social history of the times. The ordinary lives of people. While the ‘famous’ are of course interesting, it is the day to day stories that bring history to life.

My latest project has been to establish a database of ALL known Ivens (and Ivins) taken from all the Census (1841-1911) and the 1939 Register, plus Birth, Marriage, Death, Probate and Parish records and combine them into a comprehensive source of individuals and families with supporting documentation. It’s nearly complete and includes all the family trees that have been sent in over the years. It currently holds some 10,200 individual records representing 6,500 individuals from early the 17th century onwards.

But, despite this,  I have only just found the elusive link that connects the Swinbrook family to the much larger Warwickshire and Oxfordshire families. More work needed!

Nevertheless, I am keen to keep the Ivens story alive and interesting for future generations. Not only for the enthusiasts like me, but for our kith and kin, so that they know who they are and where they fit in the world.

I’m hoping that you will also add your anecdotes, photos and interesting family papers.

This is our place!

31 responses to “About the author

  1. Mr. Ivens:
    I am a professor in the United States working with a book under contract that includes Dora Ivens Pym as one of its subjects. It would be great to connect and interact about her. Are you interested?


  2. Hello David,
    I have recently started researching the Ivens family. My husband is a descendant of the Lutterworth/Cheltenham contingent. My mother-in-law has given me a box full of old photographs of various members of the Ivens family, letters, wills and a handwritten journal of Thomas Ivens (b.1800 I believe) from his travels through Europe to Egypt in 1859. I would be very happy to share what I have with you, and would be interested to learn anything else you have discovered about this branch, and Thomas Ivens in particular.
    Best wishes,


  3. Hi,
    My name is Heidi and I am part of a group called Wenches in Trenches who work to keep alive the memory of women of the great war. Needless to say we a little obsessed with the work of Dr Frances Ivens! We have done a lot of research in to her life and work but one thing we cannot find is where she is actually buried. Given that she died in 1944 in Cornwall it would be logical to think that would be where she is buried but a number of our group have done extensive research there and found nothing. She obviously had strong links with other places but if you have any ideas or thoughts on this I would love to hear from you. Regards, Heidi


    • Hi Heidi, I’m pleased you found this Blog, but I am unable to locate her final resting place. Her Probate record (and several newspapers at the time) report her address as Killagorden, St Clements, Truro, so I assume you have checked with the local church at St Clements. And then again, the main cemetery in Truro is just in St. Clements Road, Truro. There just might be a record there. There is nothing to say that she would have had any particular feelings about being entombed, and so might just have wished for a simple cremation. Her husband, Charles Matthew Knowles, died just 9 months later (November 1944), but I can find no record of where he might have been buried or cremated either, but it is likely to be the same location. I’m sorry to be unable to help in this search. Did you see ALL the posts referring to Frances? About her life; Footage of her at work in France; her sister; and the nurses at Rouyamont? If you go to the Threads section on the left of the screen, and look for ‘Honours’ that will give you a shortened list including all these. [Note: Dora Pym is her sister – another name you might be interested in] Happy hunting. David Ivens


      • Hi David, Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. You have a fascinating family. I am inclined to agree with you that both Frances and her husband had simple cremations. I will try and get the founder of Wenches in Trenches, Sue Robinson, to contact you. She is determined to honour the memory of women who served during the great war and she is the one who ‘introduced’ me to the amazing work of Frances. Thank you so much for your time and if we do find anything else out about Frances we will be sure to let you know. Kind regards, Heidi


    • Hello again, Heidi,
      Following your query, I received one from an Emma Blume who is trying to track down her grandmother Beryl Ethel Ivens. It turns out she was an ambulance driver in WWI and the family anecdotes reveal that she received the OBE for her services.
      Beryl Ethel is listed in my WWI participants posting.
      You can see the thread of Emma’s query on the Blog at ‘about the author’ and scroll down to the bottom.
      Just thought your group might be interested.
      David Ivens


      • Hi David. Thank you so much for your message. I have just read about this amazing lady! I will tell Sue, the lady who runs wenches in trenches. I love how these stories come out. Thank you again. Heidi


  4. Dear Mr Ivens,
    Ive been trying to find out about my grandmother Beryl Ethel Ivens who is listed on your site. I have a record of her womens Armt Auxilary corps whic has the number 571 so must be her!
    I’d love to know if you have any info on her. I would really like to know her date of death. The internet is really amazing for this! Thank you for all your efforts,
    Emma Blume


    • Hello Emma,
      Welcome to the site.
      I didn’t have any extra information on Beryl Ethel, but have had a little look around this evening.
      I have also noted the War record 571, and note that the period ended in 1920.
      Looking around, I find a marriage of a Beryl E. Ivens to a Reginald G. Jarman in 1922 in Manchester.
      That seems quite plausible as she would have been two years out of the service, and aged only 26.
      (In 1911, I have her living in Leicester, aged 14)
      So, when I look for Reginald Jarman in the 1939 Register, there he is married to Beryl E. Jarman (born 22nd October, 1897) and living in “mount Pleasant” Scrase Hill , Cuckfield, Sussex, England.
      Looking a bit further, I find a death of Beryl E. Jarman in Cuckfield, Sussex in March 1944.
      Given the uniqueness of the two first names (Beryl Ethel – in my whole database of 6200 Ivens, I have only 8 people named Beryl) I think this must be your Grandmother, and would suggest you search in Cuckfield, Sussex to find her resting place.
      Does any of that ring a bell with your family’s memory?
      On the 1939 Register, there is another entry, but it is hidden under the rules covering ‘living individuals’, who might be a son or daughter.
      So, there’s a line of research for you.
      There’s a Frank C Jarman born in Manchester South in 1925, and a Betty Jarman born in South manchester IN 1926 …… Possible??

      Hope this helps a little, and good luck with your searches.
      David Ivens 🙂


      • A further thought, Emma, I think I can trace Beryl Ethel’s ancestry back to 1725 in Raunds, Northampton. Let me know if you would find that interesting. regards, David.


    • My grandfather was Charles William Ivens who I believe was your grandmother’s brother making her my great aunt.

      He married my Grandmother Jeanne

      They had 2 children, both born in Belgium
      Charles Gabriel Ivens
      Andree Henriette Ivens

      The family returned to the Uk In 1938.

      My mother married Arthur Sylvester Howe a professional wrestler known as Black Butcher Johnson see Wikipedia

      3 children
      Jemima Howe born 1950
      Jeremy Nicholas Howe born 1951
      JAmes Arthur Howe born 1968 lives in USA


  5. Dear David, Thank you very much for your quick reply and your time taken . Yes, she was my grandmother, and “Betty” known to me as Lizzie was my mother. My mother barely spoke of her parents , I only found out their names shortly be fore my mother died in 2009.
    There was much that was unsaid and trauma that was not spoken about. I noticed that she left the army on compassionate grounds .
    I had found a record of Reginald ( in advertising ) and Beryl (unpaid domestic duties, I liked the honesty of the description!) in Cuckfeild.
    That is very near where I live now. Its all so intriguing , I wish we could talk to them now and find out what their lives where like!
    Reg wrote for the Manchester Guardian.
    Yes , I would be interested in Beryl’s ancestry. very many thanks for your help!


    • Oh excellent! I do like it when connections are made. My email address is david.ivens@wild-duck.co.uk. To send you Ethel’s ancestry, it is probably easiest to send it as a spreadsheet. So might have I have your email address? If this makes you feel uneasy, I will find an alternative method to deliver. regards, David


  6. Hi. This is so fascinating. I am an Ivens by marriage. Me and my husband Rik live in Cubbington near Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. My husband grew up in Long Buckby in Northamptonshire, which gets a mention for a dissenter community on your site.

    His dad grew up in Coventry and we think the Ivenses have their roots as artisans emigrating from the Netherlands in the 17th century but we don’t have any evidence of this.

    We also believe that our original surname was Anglefield Ivens (angel field) but it was simplified and anglicised to Ivens.

    Rik’s grandad Eric Ivens was chief proofreader for years at the Coventry Evening Telegraph and we have links to a worker for Francis Skidmore. FS made wrought iron metalwork for churches and large estates, I think in Victorian times.

    Rik’s dad is an artist and my husband is a graphic designer, artist and illustrator, so we feel there is an artistic streak, potentially running down the generations back to the 17th century Dutch artisans!

    My husband has been using lockdown to research his family history on his mum’s side, and now wants to explore the Ivens side, so finding your site on WP feels fortuitous.

    It would be great to be in touch.


    • Hello Catherine and welcome to the family. I’m delighted you found this blog and hope it helps to inspire your husband to explore his part of the family jigsaw.
      I have many Eric Ivens on my database but it is probably more fun to find your family for yourselves. So I won’t spoil it for you. But if you ever want to share your findings, I’d be most interested. Also if you get stuck, let me know.
      There are lots of tricks when searching records, but always try to save your references if you can, and make sure that you get ALL the information. The number of times a witness to a marriage, or the family reported in the press at a wedding give just a little clue to the family.
      The Ivens name is often difficult to read in the old registers and the spelling changes.
      The dutch origin makes an interesting line to explore, and there are indeed many dutch and Belgian Ivens, though I have never found a link yet.
      Long Buckby is a very good place to start!
      I’m meeting up with some other Ivens in Leamington shortly to exchange knowledge and hypotheses. (I’m now located in Warwickshire.)
      Good luck and if there’s anything I can do to help – just drop me a line at david.ivens@wild-duck.co.uk

      Liked by 1 person

      • You will not be surprised to hear that I have been exploring what I (think) know about your husband’s family, and can see the Inglefield connection. It leaves me with lots of questions and as families often have stories that have been handed down through the generations – many of which have a grain of truth in them – I will be most interested to learn what you can dig up. Good hunting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi David, thanks for getting back to me. The most exciting original document we have is an apprenticeship contract with a William Ivens Inglefield dated 10 July 1866 in Coventry. The contract was to be a metalworker with Francis Skidmore, a highly respected ironmomger in the Midlands who created wrought iron gates for churches and large estates. Mr Ivens, son of William Ivens, couldn’t read or write as he signs the indenture with an X. We can send you a scan copy if you like.


  7. Hello David, here is a whole new chapter for your excellent Ivens family records!
    My name is Edmund (Ted) Charles Stanford Ivens (b 12 Mar 1939) and my wife Annie and I live in Reigate Surrey. I was introduced to you yesterday by my son Charles Robert Stanford Ivens (b 9 Jun 1975) who lives in Brighton and had discovered your lovely obit about my first cousin John Ivens (b 9 Jun 1939). I had no idea that John had died.
    John and I were at Mill Hill School together, from 1952 to 1957. Our fathers (Arthur and Jack) were brothers and our mothers (Eileen and Lorna) were sisters, which had very mixed blessings, maybe more of that later!
    Meantime, I just wanted to make first contact to say thank you for what you wrote about John. I did not know that John had a godson, Tom Lane, before yesterday and would very much like to meet him, maybe you can put us in touch? Also, I am trying to compile a Sussex/Surrey Ivens family tree and will much appreciate any advice you can offer!
    One last point which may be of interest is that my grandfather Edmund was apprentice grocer in Herne Bay, Kent in 1885 and was one of the founders of Ivens, Kelletts and Childs (IKC).
    My father was the eldest of 7, 4 boys and 3 girls, and was born over the grocers shop in Worthing in 1898!
    I worked for IKC from 1960 to 1963, when it was taken over by Kinloch Provision Merchants. Looking forward to further chats, best wishes Ted


    • Hello Deborah and welcome to this Blog. Can you help me a little. Which John Ivin have you noticed and are related to? I have a fair few Johns in my head and they can change how they spell their family name. It would help if you could give me a date, or a country to help me pin down who we are celebrating. If you have any more details of the family’s history, I’d be very interested. Meanwhile, thanks for getting in touch. David.


      • hi sorry i,m not very good with all this lol, i have researched the ivin tree back to john ivin dad richard, still lots to do as the ivin family i didn,t realise was so big as i was told it wasn,t.


  8. Hi again, Deborah. Now I know who you are talking about. I know Quenington very well and it is a charming village very close to Cirencester – an important Roman town many years ago. I wonder which of the Johns you have connected to. The earliest record I have found was John who I think was born in 1687, and died in 1750. I have him as married to Margaret Jeffs in 1703 (a name that is very common in these parts, down through the ages and appearing in many of the local villages). And they had at least three sons to my knowledge: Solomon b.1703; John b.1706; and William b.1710.
    I have 207 descendants from John and Margaret.
    I wonder who your father and grandfather were?
    Great to hear from you. David


  9. hi, im related to all the ivins from quenington, my grandfather was william arthur ivin born may 1918 and passed 19th november 2015 he was 97, my father is geoffrey arthur ivin born august 1946, my dad is still living in trowbridge wiltshire where he was born. im living in swindon wiltshire, i do have a tree on ancestry which im still doing,


  10. Thanks Deborah – your tree on Ancestry is amazing!. Lots of information I hadn’t discovered. Well done ….. and thank for being in touch. Can you shed any light on the story on my Blog entitled “A Dickensian Mystery” it refers to Solomon Ivin of Quenington and Mary Wisewould (nee Ivin)?


  11. i have a henry ivin born 1836 died 1837 but says birth was gloucester i will keep looking as it such a common name in tree and see if i can link up with story. that was a very fascinating read.


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